CALDWELL, NJ - Senior Dawan Lighty (Paterson, NJ) tied a career-high with 24 points to lead the Caldwell University men's basketball team to an, 88-61, win against the Concordia College Clippers in their Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference opener. Lighty also surpassed 1,000 career points in the game, becoming the 17th player in men's basketball history to reach the milestone point barrier.
The Cougars win their third straight to move over .500 at 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the CACC, while the Clippers drop to 1-5 and 0-2 in conference play.
The Clippers jumped in front the start the game as they built a 12-6 lead over the first four minutes of play. Caldwell battled back as they heated up from long range, using a 13-4 run to take a three point lead. Senior Salvatore Vitello (Bridgewater, NJ) connected on triple, while Lighty bookended the run with trifectas as the Cougars took a 19-16 lead at the 11:03 mark.
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The teams traded leads over the next three minutes with Concordia holding a 23-21 lead with 8:08 left in the first half. The Cougars retook a two point lead on buckets by Vitello and senior Billy McDonald (North Haven, CT). The Clippers evened the score at 25 with a pair of free throws at the 6:58 mark and from there Caldwell took control of the game.
The Cougars pulled away as they raced to halftime on a 30-4 run to close out the opening 20 minutes of play. Lighty lead the rally with 12 points including his 1,000 point which came at the 3:27 mark on a trifecta. McDonald chipped in six points, while freshman Ned Ogoemesim (Westampton, NJ) dropped in eight points including a three-point play with just over a second on the clock as the Cougars headed to halftime in the lead at 55-29. Caldwell shot 54.3 percent in the opening half, including 46.2 percent from downtown and held the Clippers to 34.5 percent shooting in the opening half.
Caldwell continued their outstanding play into the second half as they led by as much as 36 points late in regulation as they were ahead by double-digits to earn their first conference victory of the season.
For the Cougars, Lighty's big night was key to the victory as he tied a career-high with 24 points, as he shot 8-for-11 from the field and 4-for-5 from downtown. He chipped in two boards and three assists and was 4-for-4 at the charity stripe. McDonald led the team in rebounding with eight along with eight points, while Ogoemesim chipped in 10 points and six rebounds off the bench. Senior Brian Kenny (Howell, NJ) tallied 16 points (12 in the second half; 9-for-10 at the FT line), while freshman Ahmad Harrison (Newark, NJ) finished with 11 points and five boards. Freshman Thomas Elliott-Smith (Plymouth, England) totaled eight points and five rebounds for the Cougars.
The Cougars host Dowling College on Monday, November 30 in a non-conference game at the Newman Center at 7 p.m.