SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - February 23, 2008- -- Senior Grant Johnson had a season-high 22 points, while classmate Al Sowers had 14 of his 20 points in the first half as the Coast Guard men's basketball team won its seventh straight and earned a home game in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament with a 69-61 win over Springfield in the regular season finale for both teams.
Coast Guard (18-6, 7-5), the defending NEWMAC tournament champions, will be the third-seed and host sixth-seeded MIT in the NEWMAC tournament on Wednesday night (Feb. 27) at a time to be determined. Springfield (10-14, 5-7) will be seeded fifth and will play at Babson that same night at 7 pm.
The Bears were red hot in the early going as they jumped out to a 16-2 lead with 10:26 left in the half behind a pair of 3-pointers by Sowers and Grant Johnson. Coast Guard led 28-19 at halftime, as Sowers hit his fourth 3-pointer of the half in the final minute. Sowers connected on 4 of 6 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes.
In the second half, Springfield trailed 42-36 with 8:37 left when the Bears scored seven straight as they sandwiched a sophomore Stefan Lewis 3-pointer between a pair of baskets by senior Steve Blum to give Coast Guard a 49-36 lead with 7:04 left in the game.
Springfield would cut the lead to six on two occasions in the very late-going, but could get no closer.
Junior Craig Johnson led Coast Guard with 11 rebounds while senior Jeff Prebeck added 10 rebounds.
Sophomore forward Pat Crean (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) led Springfield with 16 points while senior forward and co-captain Gregg Daly (Farmington, Conn.) added 12 points and nine rebounds.
Coast Guard shot 40.4 percent from the floor (21-52) and and 47.6 percent from 3-point range (10-21), while the Pride shot 37.5 percent from the floor (24-64) while making five of 20 from 3-point range.
Three Springfield seniors were honored before the game. They were Gregg Daly , Jamaal Gibbs (Norwalk, Conn.), and Alan Moreau (Lincoln, R.I.).