NEW LONDON, Conn. — Coast Guard men's basketball dropped their New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener against Emerson, 84-76 on Wednesday afternoon. Coast Guard is now 9-2 on the season and 0-1 in conference play, while Emerson improves to 6-6 on their season and 1-0 in the NEWMAC.
Junior Justin Kane led the Bears with a season-high, 20 points going 6-16 from the field and 7-11 from the free throw line. Senior Nolan Benson finished with 16 points and Tyler Perez had 12 points. All 12 from Perez came from three-point range.
Emerson was led by Geoffrey Gray and Jack O'Connor with 20 points each. Gray finished 7-15 from the field, 5-7 in free throws, and had 12 rebounds. O'Connor was 8-19 from the field and 4-10 from three-point range. Jarred Houston had 17 points with a game-high 18 rebounds.
Coast Guard outscored Emerson 46-39 in the first half. The Bears held a lead through the majority of the half as Kane powered through with 17 points. Emerson chipped away to break past a Coast Guard lead at 4:47 with a layup to take the lead at 32-31. Benson sunk a layup at 4:20 that sparked a 16-7 run for the Bears as they finished the first half with the 46-39 advantage.
Emerson opened the half, battling away to bring themselves within one throughout the first six minutes of the half. Coast Guard extended their lead with a 62-55 lead at 12:31 but that would be the final Coast Guard lead as Emerson rallied to make a 17-3 run to take a 74-65 lead. With two free throws at 2:02 Kane brought the Bears within two, trailing 77-75 but Emerson finished the game with a three pointer and four free throws to take the 84-76 final in both teams' NEWMAC opener.
Emerson shot 50.8% (33-65) from the field and had 50 rebounds, while Coast Guard was 35.9% (28-78) from the field and had 38 rebounds.
Both teams will continue conference play on Saturday, January 5. Coast Guard will host MIT at 3:00 PM.