Waterville, Maine – Thomas forced overtime with a buzzer-beating three, but the Spartans held on to their lead in the extra session despite another late Terrier barrage from downtown, taking a 130-129 victory on Friday evening in North Atlantic Conference action.
Castleton opened up a 129-123 lead with just 18 seconds left in regulation on a layup from Steve Rosemond, however, Garen Manzo drilled a contested three from the corner to close the lead to three with seconds remaining. Troy Davine was fouled with four seconds left and made one of two to give the Spartans a 130-126 advantage. Stanley Green Jr. followed with a three at the buzzer as the Spartans walked away with the one-point win.
The victory was the fifth straight for Castleton as they improved to 16-7 overall and 14-2 in conference play. The team shot 48.9 percent from the floor and connected on 15 triples while outrebounding the Terriers 54-45. Thomas shot an impressive 11-for-22 from beyond the arc and 34-for-37 from the free throw line to stay in the game but turned the ball over 26 times while dropping to 9-13 and 9-6 in the NAC.
Rosemond poured in a career-high 32 points to lead six players in double figures. He also added 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Chad Copeland had 18 points and nine rebounds while Rob Coloutti hit a career-high six threes and had 19 points. Carnelius Green added 17 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three blocks.
Levi Barnes scored 20 points and pulled down 12 rebounds while Green Jr. had 28 points six rebounds and three assists. Adam Carlsen added 20 points off the bench and Manzo chipped in with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists.
It was back-and-forth through the opening five minutes, with a 5-0 run by Spartans giving them a 15-10 advantage. Thomas tied it back up at 19 and scored five more to grab a 24-19 lead at 12:36. Green Jr. extended the lead to six, but Castleton countered with a 9-0 spurt to go back in front 31-28 on a layup by Rosemond with 10:13 remaining.
The Spartans failed to extend their lead by more than two until a 7-0 run gave them a 39-32 advantage. Castleton's lead stood at three, 43-40, at the six minute mark before eight straight made it 51-40 at 4:43. A minute later it was 56-46 in favor of the Spartans, however, the Terriers outscored Castleton 18-8 in the last 3:43 to go into the break tied at 64 apiece
Seven consecutive points early in the second half pushed the Castleton advantage to 73-68, however, Thomas tied it up just one minute later. The Terriers then took an 80-79 lead with 14:41 left. The two teams traded baskets over the next five minutes, until three straight put Thomas back in front 91-88 at 9:12.
The Terriers made it 93-90 two minutes later but a Tyler Ackley layup and back-to-back triples from Coloutti gave Castleton a 98-93 lead with 5:06 left. The Spartans continued to push the pace and a layup from Green made it 106-99 with 2:37 remaining. Seven straight by Thomas tied up at 106 apiece with just 58 seconds left.
Rosemond followed with a layup and Ackley was fouled in the act with 13 on the clock. He hit the first, missed the second and Thomas grabbed the ball. A game-tying three-point attempt with five seconds left clanged off the rim to nearly halfcourt before Barnes grabbed it took two steps and heaved a 30-foot three to send the game to overtime.
In the extra session the Spartans just out to a 116-111 lead in the opening 1:20. Following a pair of Thomas free throws they extended the lead to 123-113 with 2:02 left. The Terriers slowly closed the deficit to pull within three, 126-123 before a free throw by Davine and layup from Rosemond stretched the lead to 129-123 with 18 seconds left.
For Castleton the 259 combined points marks the highest combined score in program history, besting the previous record of 234 set two games ago against Green Mountain. The team as now scored at least 130 points in three of four games, one of two teams in the nation to accomplish that feat this year along with Grinnell.
The Spartans look to win their sixth straight when they face Maine Farmington at 3 pm on Saturday.