BENNINGTON, Vt. – Castleton University overcame a seven-point deficit to take the lead midway through the second half, and a balanced scoring effort allowed the Spartans to defeat the Southern Vermont College Mountaineers, 73-70, Sunday afternoon in a non-conference men's collegiate basketball game at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.
Seven Spartan players scored at least eight points in the game, led by Chad Copeland's double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds. Jordan Nelson scored 12 points, while Ben Mrowka contributed 10 points and four rebounds off the bench. Tondi Mushandu finished with nine points, five rebounds, and two steals, and three other Castleton players scored eight points apiece.
Down 42-35 at halftime, Castleton stayed within that margin through the first five minutes of the second half, and then the Spartans went on a 12-1 scoring run over the next six-and-a-half minutes, taking the lead halfway through the second half on a layup by Pavin Parrish. The Mountaineers answered back as Daemond Carter hit a three-pointer and Nate Goldsmith made a layup to put Southern Vermont back on top, 57-56, with 7:45 left in the second half.
Nelson hit a layup on Castleton's next possession as the Spartans regained the lead, and then layups by Copeland and Mrowka extended the Castleton advantage to 62-58. Mushandu scored a layup with 3:45 remaining in regulation, and Parrish hit two free throws one minute later to give the Spartans a seven-point lead at 68-61.
Southern Vermont (2-3) rallied back, pulling to within one at 69-68 with 1:17 to go on layups by Rayshawn Taylor and Josh Borders as well as a traditional three-point play from Goldsmith. The Mountaineers could not take advantage of a Castleton turnover, missing a shot on its next possession, Mushandu hit one free throw to give Castleton a two-point lead, and Southern Vermont committed a turnover, allowing Nelson to hit two free throws to solidify the Spartan victory.
Goldsmith led the Mountaineers with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Taylor finished with 18 points and Carter added 14 points. As a team, Southern Vermont shot 39.3 percent (22-of-56) from the field, including 6-of-21 from behind the three-point line, and 64.5 percent (20-of-31) from the free throw line.
Castleton combined to shoot 49.0 percent (24-of-49) from the field, including 3-of-7 from behind the three-point line, and 68.8 percent (22-of-32) from the free throw line. The Spartans won the rebounding battle, 39-30, and outscored the Mountaineers in the paint, 38-26.
The Mountaineers jumped out to a 9-4 lead before the Spartans scored nine unanswered points, capped by a Mrowka three-pointer. Down 22-18, Southern Vermont put together a 10-1 scoring run, but Castleton roared back to tie the game at 29-29 with 3:45 remaining in the first half on another three-pointer by Mrowka.
Southern Vermont scored the final eight points of the first half in the last two minutes, starting with a traditional three-point play by Goldsmith, continuing with a three-pointer from Carter, and ending with a layup from Davante Jordan, who dished out eight assists during the afternoon.
Castleton (3-1) opens North Atlantic Conference play Wednesday, Nov. 30, against New England College in the first game of a basketball doubleheader at Glenbrook Gym starting at 5:30 p.m.