Bears Rally to Advance to Citizens Bank Championship Game
NEW LONDON, Conn.—Junior David Anderson had 14 of his team-high 17 points in the second half as Coast Guard used a 22-6 run to start the second half and posted a 72-59 come-from-behind win over St. Joseph's of Long Island in the opening round of the Citizens Bank Tournament at Connecticut College.
The Bears, who improve to 2-4 on the season, will play Connecticut College in the championship game on Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Coast Guard Academy. The Camels beat Maine-Presque Isle 91-61 in the other first round game. St. Joseph's will play Maine-Presque Isle in the consolation game at 2 p.m.
"We talked at halftime about coming out about playing harder and being more aggressive and take the game to them both offensively and defensively and I thought we did that," said Coast Guard head coach Kevin Jaskiewicz. "I loved our point distribution with four guys in double figures. It will be real challenge tomorrow playing Connecticut College on short rest, but we are excited and looking forward to playing in the championship game."
Anderson was 6 of 8 from the floor (5 of 6 in the second half) while also making 2 of 3 from 3-point range and grabbing eight rebounds in the win.
Junior Eli Sponseller tied a career-high with 15 points and a career-high nine rebounds while senior John Benedict had a season 12 points, including 9 of 10 from the foul line, and senior Devonte Weems finished with 11 points and a team-high six assists for Coast Guard.
St. Joseph's was on fire from behind the arc in the first half hitting seven of its first nine shots and finishing the half 7 for 10 from 3-point range and they led 34-27 at the break. The Golden Eagles were 5 of 16 inside the arc in the opening stanza shooting 46.2 percent total from the floor (12-26).
Coast Guard came out on a mission in the second half as they started the half on a 22-6 run. The Bears regained the lead 38-37 following a pair of free throws by Sponseller with 16:06 left in the game and capped the run on a 3-point basket by junior Ryan McNeil with 12:47 left for a 49-40 edge, its largest lead of the game to that point. St. Joseph had just one field goal in the first 7:56 of the second half before a 3-pointer by sophomore Ryan Reidy made the score 49-43.
The Bears would lead by at least seven points the rest of the way to earn a berth in the championship game on Sunday.
Coast Guard shot 38 percent from the floor (19-50) while making 7 of 23 from 3-point range while the Golden Eagles were 19 of 46 from the floor (41.3 percent) and 10 of 22 from behind the arc. The Bears held a 38-26 advantage on the glass.
The Bears scored the first six points of the game taking a 6-0 lead with 16:39 left in the opening half.
St. Joseph's took its first lead of the game 15-13 on a 3-pointer by junior Jordan Kowalski with 7:37 left in the half.
The Bears would tie the game 23-23 on a pair of free throws by sophomore Mark Krebs with 4:36 left, but the Golden Eagles would use an 11-4 run to end the half, including a trio of 3-point baskets, taking a 34-27 lead into the half.
Coast Guard was 9 of 23 from the floor (39.1 percent) in the first half while making just 2 of 10 from 3-point range.
Junior Darryl Charles led the Golden Eagles with 24 points and eight rebounds.