Bears Squander 18-Point Lead; Lose 57-56

Bears Squander 18-Point Lead; Lose 57-56

MIDDLETOWN, Conn.—John Jones had a game-high 18 points and Mass. College of Liberal Arts erased a 18-point second half deficit and beat Coast Guard 57-56 in the consolation game of the Herb Kenny Tip-Off Tournament at Wesleyan.

Coast Guard junior David Anderson's layup with two seconds left made the score 57-56 before senior Devonte Weems stole the ball but the Bears shot on the buzzer missed.

The Bears scored 20 straight points over the final 5:31 of the first half to erase a 13-8 deficit and take a 29-13 lead into the half. Sophomore Mark Krebs had seven points while classmate Avierre Conner had six points during the 20-0 run.

Coast Guard (0-2) led 36-18 following a layup by junior Eli Sponseller with 16:29 left in the game before MCLA used a 13-0 run to cut the deficit to 36-31 with 12:29 left.

The Bears built the lead back to 12 at 47-35 after a 3-pointer by Sponseller with 8:29 left, but that would be Coast Guard's last field goal before Anderson's bucket with two seconds left.

MCLA (1-1) used an 11-2 run to make the scored 49-46 with 4:02 left and with the Bears leading 51-46 with 3:36 left, the Trailblazers scored seven of the next eight to take the lead 53-52 on a pair of free throws by Todd Hunt with 2:31 left.

Sponseller made one of two free throws to tie the game with 2:05 left before and old fashion 3-point play by Ruben Delrosario with 1:45 gave MCLA the lead for good at 56-53.

Conner had a career-high 14 points off the bench to lead Coast Guard while Sponseller finished with 12 points. Anderson (7 points) led the Bears with nine rebounds while sophomore Mark Krebs finished with six points and eight rebounds.

The Bears shot just 30 percent from the field (15-50) while making five of 13 from 3-point range. Coast Guard held a 46-31 edge on the boards.

MCLA shot 41.5 percent from the floor (22-53) and made just three of 15 from behind the arc.

"We did a terrific job of putting ourselves in a position to win a game," said Coast Guard head coach Kevin Jaskiewicz. "Unfortunately we could not close it out. MCLA deserves a lot of credit for the comeback."