November 9, 2013 at 7:32 AM
TEANECK, NJ - The Caldwell College men’s basketball team opened the regular season with an 89-71 loss to Fairleigh Dickinson University Friday night at the Rothman Center. The Cougars were playing a Division I opponent for the third consecutive outing, having faced Rutgers University and Seton Hall University in exhibition games last week.
Caldwell started the first half well, getting three-pointers from junior guard Wyatt Polk, of Haddonfield and sophomore guard Dawan Lighty, of Paterson, in building a 21-16 lead over the first nine minutes. But the Knights answered with a 29-9 run to close out the half leading 45-30. Polk led the Cougars with 11 points and six rebounds, while Mustafaa Jones had 13 points to pace FDU in the first half.
FDU pushed the lead to 19 points early in the second half before Caldwell closed the gap. Two three-pointers by Lighty, including a four-point play on the second three, pulled the Cougars to within 11, 66-55 with 8:29 to play. A pair of free throws from sophomore forward Terik Bridgeman, of Harlem, NY, and a three by Polk cut the deficit to 68-60 with 6:14 on the clock. The Knights responded with a three from Jones and a basket by Scooter Gillette to push the lead to 73-60. Caldwell came within 10 points twice but could get no closer, as FDU held on to win.
Four players scored in double figures for the Cougars:
- Wyatt Polk led by 16 points and 12 rebounds
- Dawan Lighty finished with 15 points
- Junior forward Michael Balkovic, of Neptune, had 14 points and 11 boards
- Terik Bridgeman added 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks
- Caldwell shot 51.9 percent from the field in the second half, and held a 47-38 rebounding advantage for the game
- FDU's Mustafaa Jones hit 5 threes and finished with a game-high 20 points.
The Cougars begin their home schedule with a non-conference game against Mercy College on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. in the George R. Newman Center.
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