Witkowski Scores 1,000th; Baldez Last Second Shot Lifts Bears Past Clark

Seniors Bryce Schroeder, Nolan Benson, and Luke Daniels
Seniors Bryce Schroeder, Nolan Benson, and Luke Daniels

NEW LONDON, Conn. – Junior Noah Baldez hit a jumper with 1.2 seconds left lifting Coast Guard to a 68-66 win over Clark in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game on Senior Day.

Junior Packy Witkowski became the 19th men's basketball player in Coast Guard history to eclipse the 1,000 point plateau and finished the game with 1,005 career points. He is the first Coast Guard player since Greg Marshall in 2013 to join the 1,000 point club. He scored his 1,000th point on a 3-pointer with 3:36 in the first half. 

Coast Guard improves to 15-7 overall and 6-6 in the NEWMAC while Clark drops to 5-18 overall and 1-11 in the conference. The Bears are tied with Springfield for the fifth and final NEWMAC tournament spot with two games to go after the Pride upset No. 6 MIT this afternoon.

Baldez and Witkowski each finished with a team-high 16 points to lead the Bears while junior Justin Kane added eight points and a game and season-high 14 rebounds. Baldez also had a team-high four assists and four steals. 

Sophomore Biko Gayman led all scorers with 22 points for Clark while classmate Tyler Davern added 15 points and a team-high tying seven rebounds while freshman Alex Nazaire also added 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

Coast Guard shot 37.5 percent (24-64) from the floor while hitting 9 of 24 from 3-point range while the Cougars were 28 of 64 (43.8 percent) hitting just 3 of 14 from behind the arc. The Bears held a 44-34 rebounding edge in the win.

Gayman gave Clark a 66-64 lead with 1:12 left before Baldez tied it on a layup with 53 seconds left. Clark would turn the ball over with 30 seconds left setting up Baldez's game winner.

Coast Guard led by as many as 13 in the second half with a 47-34 edge with 15:49 left. The Bears led 52-42 with 12:39 left before the Cougars used an 11-4 to cut the deficit to 56-53 with 9:18 left.

Both teams went cold as the Bears last points before the Baldez shot were with 9:40 left for a 56-51 lead.

Clark would score just three points in the final 9:18 of the game.

It was a back-and-forth first half before the Bears used a 9-2 run turning a 27-26 lead with 5:24 left in the half into a 36-28 lead with 2:35 left. Coast Guard led 41-32 at the half.

It was the final home game in the careers of Luke Daniels, Bryce Schroeder and Nolan Benson.

The Bears are back in action on Wednesday when travel to Wheaton for a NEWMAC game at 7:00.