February 26, 2014 at 1:27 AM
BLOOMFIELD, N.J. – The Caldwell College men’s basketball team lost a hard-fought battle to Bloomfield College, 82-77 in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference game Tuesday evening at the Bloomfield Gym. The Cougars conclude the regular season with a 16-10 record overall, including a 12-7 mark in the conference. The Deacons are now 19-7 overall, 17-2 CACC.
The first half remained close throughout, with 10 ties and six lead changes. With the score knotted at 31-31 with 3:14 left in the half, a three from Steve Henderson and a basket from Matt Hall gave Bloomfield its largest lead of the period, 36-31. Caldwell responded with five straight points of its own to pull even, 36-36 at the half. The Cougars shot 50.0 percent from the field, with sophomore forward Terik Bridgeman (Harlem, NY/Nia Prep) scoring 13 points.
Neither team was able to take control in the second half, as the lead changed hands eight times after halftime. At the 5:31 mark, Bloomfield was clinging to a 65-64 advantage when Caldwell went on an 8-1 run, capped by a dunk by Bridgeman off a lob from junior guardWyatt Polk (Haddonfield, NJ/Haddonfield), to take its largest lead of the game, 72-66 with3:35 to play. But the Deacons answered with a 12-4 run of their own to regain the lead, 78-76 with just over a minute to play.
Caldwell had a chance to tie the score at the free throw line, but the Cougars made 1-of-2 to make the score 78-77 Bloomfield. A basket by Marvin Williams, a Caldwell turnover and two free throws from Dondre Whitmore allowed the Deacons to close out the win and complete the season sweep of the Cougars. Caldwell ended up shooting 52.5 percent from the field for the game but did not help itself at the line, making 11-of-22 from the charity stripe.
Junior forward Michael Balkovic (Neptune, NJ/St. John Vianney) led Caldwell with 22 points and nine rebounds while shooting 10-of-13 from the floor. Polk hit 3-of-5 from three-point range and scored 21 points, while Bridgeman finished with 19 points, five boards and four assists. Whitmore scored 16 points to pace Bloomfield.
The Cougars are the No. 3 seed from the North Division and will play Holy Family University, the No. 2 seed from the South Division, in the quarterfinals of the CACC Tournament onSaturday, Mar. 1. Game time is set for 2:00 p.m. in Philadelphia, Pa.