CALDWELL, NJ - Junior forward Michael Balkovic (Neptune, NJ / St. John Vianney) registered 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Caldwell College men’s basketball team to a 76-67 victory over Goldey-Beacom College in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference game Sunday afternoon at the George R. Newman Center. The Cougars improve to 14-9 overall and 10-6 in the league with the win, while the Lightning falls to 9-14, 7-9 CACC.
Neither team led by more than five points in the first half, as there were eight ties and 16 lead changes over the first 20 minutes. After a conventional three-point play by Rob Pittman put the Lightning on top, 33-32 at the two-minute mark, a free throw from sophomore guard Dawan Lighty (Paterson, NJ / Kennedy) and two lay-ups by Balkovic, including one before the buzzer, gave Caldwell a 37-32 halftime edge. Balkovic tallied 14 points and seven boards in the first half for the Cougars, who shot 52.7 percent from the field in the period.
The first part of the second half featured four highlight-reel dunks from sophomore forward Terik Bridgeman (Harlem, NY / Nia Prep) that ignited the crowd. Goldey-Beacom weathered the storm, however, and built a 54-50 lead with 11:10 remaining. With the Lightning still leading, 59-56 with 8:22 on the clock, Balkovic, sophomore forward Billy McDonald (North Haven, CT / North Haven) and Lighty made consecutive baskets to give Caldwell a 62-59 advantage with just under six minutes to play. Goldey-Beacom came within one point twice, only to have the Cougars answer each time. Free throws by junior guard Kevin Walker (Bayonne, NJ / St. Peter’s Prep), Bridgeman and Balkovic in the final 30 seconds of play helped Caldwell close out the victory.
Both teams made 27 field goals, including three three-pointers apiece
The Cougars went 19-of-24 (79.2 percent) from the charity stripe compared to 10-of-15 for the Lightning
Balkovic made 8-of-10 from the field and 8-of-9 from the line en route to 24 points and 10 boards for his 10th double-double of the season
Bridgeman finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and two steals
Lighty came off the bench to score 14 points
Sophomore guard Salvatore Vitello (Bridgewater, NJ / Bridgewater-Raritan) delivered five assists and had five points in the win
- Donte McGill led Goldey-Beacom with 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists
Caldwell faces Concordia College on the road in a CACC North game on Tuesday, Feb. 22. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in Bronxville, N.Y.