Bears Keep Dancing to Round of 32

HARTFORD, CONN. – Senior Jeff Prebeck led all scorers with 24 points to go with his game-high 10 rebounds while junior Craig Johnson sank a pair of free throws with 3.8 seconds left to ice the game as Coast Guard set a single-season record for wins and won its first ever NCAA Tournament first round game holding off Trinity 70-65.

Coast Guard (22-6), the two-time defending New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament champions, advances to take on host UMass Dartmouth on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the second round with a berth to the Sweet 16 on the line.

The Bears, who won their 11th straight, shot 58.3 percent (14-24) in the second half and 52.9 percent for the game (27-51). Coast Guard became the first NEWMAC team to beat a NESCAC team in the NCAA Tournament since 2001.

Trinity tied the game 44-44 on a dunk by junior Paul Rowe with 13:05 left before Coast Guard scored 13 straight to take an 57-44 lead with 8:12 left and when freshman Jevon James scored with 6:07 left Coast Guard led 61-51.

The Bantams then outscored the Bears 10-1, pulling to within one at 62-61 on a 3-pointer by freshman Brian Ford with 4:08 left.

Sophomore Eric Hudson hit a pair of free throws and Prebeck scored a layup and Coast Guard pushed the lead to 66-61 with 1:34 left.

Trinity trailed 68-65 and had the ball, but a 3-pointer by Robert Taylor with six seconds left was no good, Craig Johnson got the rebound and was fouled with 3.8 seconds left.

Senior guard Patrick Hasiuk opened the game by knocking down back-to-back 3-pointers giving the Bantams a quick 6-0 lead, however those would be his only points of the night as he shot 2 for 11 from the floor.

The Bantams pushed the lead to 19-8 on a basket by senior Stephen Dunn with 14:07 left, but Coast Guard would then score 12 straight to take its first lead of the game 20-19 on jumper by senior Al Sowers with 7:38 left in the first half.

Trinity went over eight minutes without a basket before senior Robert Taylor’s old fashion 3-point play gave the Bantams a 22-20 lead with 6:04 left.

Senior Jeff Prebeck, who led Coast Guard with 10 first half points, made one of two free throws with 2.6 seconds left as the Bears took their largest lead of the half, 29-26 into halftime.

Coast Guard was 13 for 27 in the first half (48.1 percent) while Trinity connected on 11 of 30 from the floor (36.7 percent).

Trinity scored the first five points of the second half and later led 34-31 before Coast Guard scored eight straight capped by a junior Stefan Lewis 3-pointer with 15:46 as the Bears led 39-34.

Craig Johnson and sophomore Eric Hudson each added nine points for the Bears while freshman Jevon James had eight points and seven rebounds. Senior Grant Johnson and Craig Johnson each led the way with five assists.

The game marked the 700th career game for Coast Guard head coach Pete Barry, who has a career-record of 399-301 overall in 26 seasons and 248-202 in 18 seasons at the Coast Guard Academy. It was Barry’s fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament as he led his alma mater, the University of San Francisco to Division I tournament in both 1980 and 1981 and Coast Guard to the Division III tournament in each of the last two seasons.

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