NEW LONDON, Conn. - Sophomore Jake Ross blocked a three point attempt by sophomore Packy Witkowski with eight seconds left sealing the 79-74 victory for Springfield in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action Saturday afternoon.
With the loss, the Bears fall to 9-6 overall and 1-5 in conference play. The Pride improve to 11-6 on the season with their fifth straight win and are now 5-1 in the NEWMAC.
Witkowski led Coast Guard with 26 points and nine rebounds while Justin Kane recorded his fifth double-double of the season scoring 13 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Sophomore Sean Graytok had 13 points going 3-6 from three, while classmate Noah Baldez finished with 10 points and four assists.
Ross recorded a double-double with a game high 34 points and 13 rebounds. Classmate Heath Post also recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds while senior Andy McNulty had 15 points and four assists.
After a back-and-forth first half Springfield led by one (36-35) heading into the second half. The Pride opened the period on a 9-2 run with senior Brandon Eckles taking a pass from Ross and laying it in giving Springfield a 42-37 lead with 17:18 left to play.
The Bears then went on a 14-7 run, taking a two point lead with 12:23 to play after two free-throws from Witkowski who had seven points over this stretch.
After the Pride took the lead again after two free-throws from McNulty and a layup from sophomore Trey Witter (53-51), Coast Guard scored eight straight points taking their largest lead of the game 59-53 with 9:01 left in the second half. Witkowski had four of the Bears eight points during the run while junior Bryce Schroeder and Luke Daniels each had two.
Over the next eight minutes there was five lead changes until the score was tied at 71 after Kane made 1-2 from the stripe with 1:48 on the clock.
The two teams traded free-throw attempts down the stretch giving the Pride a two point advantage (76-74) with 20 seconds left in the game. After a Springfield timeout, Baldez drove to the hoop with just under 10 seconds left. With his lane to the hoop blocked, Baldez kicked it back out to Witkowski who spotted up from three. Ross however recovered in time making the leaping block and junior Cam Earle grabbed the rebound feeding Ross at the other end of the court who sealed the win from the foul line.
The Bears were 28-74 (37.8%) from the floor and made 38.5% (5-13) of their attempted three pointers. Coast Guard held a 13-2 advantage in fast break points highlighted by a dunk from Baldez in the first half.
Springfield was 45.0% (27-60) from the floor and were 5-23 (21.7%) from beyond the arc. The Pride controlled the paint outscoring the Bears 40-28.
Coast Guard is back in action on Wednesday, January 24th, when they travel to Norton, Massachusetts to take on the Wheaton Lyons. Opening tip is 6:00 pm.