NEW LONDON, Conn. – Packy Witkowski led four Coast Guard players in double figures with 18 points and Coast Guard used a late 13-0 run in a 91-78 non-conference win over Salve Regina in the Bears' home opener and the season opener for Salve.
The Bears (1-1) faced Division III competition for the first time this season as Coast Guard scrimmaged junior college UConn-Avery Point, played an exhibition game at Division I Central Connecticut before opening the regular season at Division II Alaska Anchorage in the Armed Forces Classic on Friday.
Coast Guard led 78-76 with 3:10 left before Witkowski would knock down a 3-pointer with 2:50 left to start the 13-0 run as the Bears put the game away.
Noah Baldez added 15 points, seven rebounds and career-high nine assists, Justin Kane finished with 14 points while Garrett Drummond added 12 points off the bench for the Bears. J.T. Cox led the Bears with a career-high eight rebounds.
Mikey Spencer led Salve with 24 points and eight rebounds while Cameron Collins added 20 points and eight rebounds. Kevin Kelly added 17 points and a team-high five assists while Tyler Benjamin finished with 10 points for Salve.
Coast Guard would score the first six points of the second half to erase a 41-40 halftime deficit.
The Seahawks would take their first lead of the half 55-53 following an old fashion 3-point play with 13:44 left.
A pair of Kane baskets sandwiched around a 3-pointer by Jack Brunswick started a 9-0 run by the Bears breaking a 63-63 tie to make the score 72-63 with 8:22 left.
The Bears led 76-68 with 4:58 left before Salve scored eight of the next 10 points cutting the deficit to 78-76 on a trey by Spencer with 3:10 left, but that would be Salve's final field goal of the game.
Coast Guard shot 40.3 percent from the floor (29-72) and made 11 of 32 from 3-point range while Salve shot 45.6 percent from the floor (26-57) and connected on 8 of 23 from behind the arc.
The Bears held a 44-36 edge on the glass and turned the ball over just eight times.
Coast Guard led 12-7 with 16:10 left in the first half before Salve used an 8-2 spurt to take its first lead of the game 15-14 on a bucket by Cameron Collins with 12:20 left in the opening half.
The Seahawks led 27-24 with 9:01 left in the half when Coast Guard went on a 13-4 run taking a 37-31 lead with 3:49 remaining in the half.
The Bears had their largest lead of the half 40-33 before Salve used an 8-0 run over the final 1:14 of the half to lead 41-40 at the break.
Coast Guard shot 37.8 percent in the first half (14 of 37) and made six of 20 from behind the arc while Salve was 14 of 29 from the floor (48.3 percent) including 4 of 11 from 3-point range.
The Bears are back in action on Saturday at 5:00 against Baruch at the Western Connecticut Classic.