CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University men's basketball team held on for a 52-50 victory over Plymouth State Tuesday night in a non-conference contest at Glenbrook Gym.
Chad Copeland shot 7-of-12 from the field as he scored 18 points to lead the Spartans. Edmund Fitzgerald notched a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds, plus he earned three assists and two blocked shots, while Tondi Mushandu contributed 10 rebounds, three assists, and two steals to go along with four points.
The two teams were even through the first 10 minutes of the game until Castleton went on a 21-7 scoring run, led by Copeland with 10 points during that stretch. Jaylen Leroy hit a three-pointer on Plymouth State's final possession of the first half to bring the Panthers within nine (30-21) at halftime.
After Fitzgerald hit a layup one minute into the second half, Plymouth State scored seven unanswered points, punctuated by a traditional three-point play from Jack Preston. Castleton responded with its own 11-0 scoring run over the next five minutes to extend its lead to 43-28 with 11 minutes remaining in the second half.
Plymouth State (2-1) started a comeback, going on a 15-3 run over the next seven minutes, led by eight points from Preston and capped by a three-pointer by Nick MacGregor that brought the Panthers within three at 46-43. Copeland made two baskets to extend the Spartan lead back to six, but another MacGregor three-pointer and a free throw by Preston closed the Castleton lead to 52-50 with 1:22 remaining in regulation.
Fitzgerald was fouled with 58 seconds left and made one free throw, and then each team exchanged possessions without scoring. Preston hit a layup with 12 seconds remaining to bring the Panthers within one, and then Fitzgerald went 1-of-2 from the free throw line again. Plymouth State committed a turnover on its chance to tie the game, giving the Spartans their second straight home victory.
Preston led the Panthers with 16 points, five rebounds, and three assists, while Curtis Arsenault finished with 10 points, four rebounds, and three steals. Plymouth State shot 31.7 percent (19-of-60) from the field, including 5-of-20 from behind the three-point line, and 70 percent (7-of-10) from the free throw line.
The Spartans shot 42.9 percent (18-of-42) from the field and 68.2 percent (15-of-22) from the free throw line. Castleton won the rebounding battle, 37-32, but committed 16 turnovers leading to 19 Plymouth State points.
Castleton (2-1) heads to Southern Vermont College to face the Mountaineers Sunday, Nov. 27, starting at 3:30 p.m. The Spartans then start a basketball doubleheader at Glenbrook Gym with their opening NAC contest against New England College next Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 5:30 p.m.