ORANGEBURG, N.Y. – Junior forward Michael Balkovic (Neptune, NJ / St. John Vianney) scored 27 points as the Caldwell College men’s basketball team defeated New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), 83-69 at Dominican College’s Daniel Sullivan Tip-Off Tournament. The win is the third in a row for the Cougars, who improve to 3-1 on the season. The Bears are now 0-2.

First Half
Caldwell took control of the game early, building a 15-3 lead over the first eight minutes of the first half. Balkovic scored 12 points, and sophomore forward Terik Bridgeman (Harlem, NY / Nia Prep) added 11 points and eight rebounds in the first half, as the Cougars took a 42-23 advantage into the locker room. 

Second Half
A conventional three-point play by Balkovic with 12:38 remaining in the game gave Caldwell a 20-point lead, 62-42. The Bears made a push to get back in the game with a 15-2 run, sparked by threes from Jahleel Felix, Kachi Nzerem and Wayne Bradford, that made the score 64-57 Caldwell with 8:13 to play. The Cougars were able to prevent NYIT from getting any closer, as Balkovic contributed six points down the stretch. The win gives Caldwell its first three-game winning streak since early in the 2011-12 season.

Game Highlights
  • Balkovic made 9-of-13 from the field and 8-of-11 from the line en route to 27 points
  • Junior guard Wyatt Polk (Haddonfield, NJ / Haddonfield) added 17 points, including 8-of-10 from the line
  • Bridgeman finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds
  • Sophomore guard Salvatore Vitello (Bridgewater, NJ / Bridgewater-Raritan) came off the bench to provide 10 assists
  • Sophomore forward Billy McDonald (North Haven, CT / North Haven) scoring 11 points
  • As a team the Cougars went to the free throw line 33 times, making 24, compared to 9-of-15 for the Bears
  • Nzerem scored 16 points to lead NYIT, which drained 10 threes and had a 44-39 edge in rebounding

Upcoming Game
Caldwell opens its Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference schedule against Felician College at home on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Game time is set for 8:00 p.m. in the George R. Newman Center.

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