CALDWELL, N.J. – The Caldwell College men’s basketball team lost a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference match-up to North Division-rival Dominican College, 74-66 Saturday afternoon in the George R. Newman Center. The Cougars drop to 9-6 overall and 5-3 in the conference, while the Chargers (10-3) stay atop the CACC North standings with a 6-0 record.
Caldwell fell behind by as many as 12 points in the first half before battling back to take a 33-32 lead late in the half following four straight points from junior guard Wyatt Polk (Haddonfield, NJ / Haddonfield). A Nick Smith lay-up allowed Dominican to take a 34-33 advantage into halftime. Polk tallied 12 points in the half for the Cougars, who out-scored the Chargers in the paint, 22-14.
The game went back and forth in the second half, with 12 lead changes. Baskets by junior forward Michael Balkovic (Neptune, NJ / St. John Vianney) and junior guard Kevin Walker (Bayonne, NJ / St. Peter’s Prep), followed by an emphatic dunk on the fast break by sophomore forward Terik Bridgeman (Harlem, NY / Nia Prep, gave Caldwell its largest lead of the game, 45-40 with 13:37 to play.
After the Chargers came back to regain the upper hand, a conventional three-point play by Balkovic put the Cougars on top, 55-54 with 8:40 remaining. Then Caldwell stumbled a bit, committing two turnovers and missing the front end of a one-and-one in an 8-1 Dominican run that gave the Chargers a 62-56 advantage. The Cougars were able to come within four points three different times, only to have Dominican pull away each time. Caldwell shot just 38.7 percent from the field in the second half and missed half of its attempts from the line (8-of-16) after halftime.
Bridgeman led the Cougars with 17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks
Polk finished with 16 points
Balkovic also had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds
- Smith, the conference’s leading scorer at 25.8 points per game before Saturday, tallied 17 points and seven boards for Dominican
Caldwell and Dominican play the second game of the season series on Jan. 22 in Orangeburg, NY.