CASTLETON, Vt. – Castleton University received contributions from several players, as five Spartans scored in double figures to help their team defeat New England College, 90-77, Wednesday evening in a North Atlantic Conference men's basketball game at Glenbrook Gym.
Jordan Nelson shot 9-of-15 from the field as he led Castleton with 22 points and four steals, while Tondi Mushandu hit 9-of-13 shots from the field to finish with 20 points and eight rebounds. Edmund Fitzgerald notched his second double-double in three games with 17 points and 14 rebounds, Julian Santos came off the bench and contributed 12 points, and Chad Copeland added 11 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
Down by eight with 8:44 remaining in the first half, Castleton scored seven straight points, with Nelson hitting back-to-back layups and Copeland converting a traditional three-point play. New England College twice extended its lead back to six late in the first half, but a layup by Mushandu with 24 seconds remaining cut the Spartan deficit to 43-39 at halftime.
After Jake Vickery hit a free throw to give NEC a five-point lead two minutes into the second half, Castleton scored 10 unanswered points over the next four minutes, the last five from Fitzgerald. The Pilgrims pulled to within four midway through the second half, but Castleton put the game away thanks to a 16-2 scoring run.
Izaiah Wintson-Brooks led New England College (4-2, 0-1 NAC) with 22 points, eight rebounds, and four steals, with Ricky Leonard scoring 15 points, Frantzy Georges contributing 12 points, and Vickery adding 10 points off the bench. As a team, the Pilgrims shot 43.8 percent (28-of-64) from the field, including 8-of-24 from behind the three-point line, and 61.9 percent (13-of-21) from the free throw line.
By hitting over 50 percent of its second-half field goal attempts, Castleton finished at 46.9 percent (30-of-64) from the field, including 5-of-14 from behind the three-point line, and 83.3 percent (25-of-30) from the free throw line. The Spartans won the rebounding battle, 40-35, including 21 offensive rebounds that led to 23 second-chance points.
Castleton (4-1, 1-0 NAC) hits the road for its next three conference games, starting with a trip to Maine this weekend to face Maine-Farmington Friday, Dec. 2, at 5:30 p.m. and Thomas Saturday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m.