CASTLETON, Vt. – After extending its winning streak to four games Wednesday, the Castleton University men's basketball team hits the road, traveling across New England for North Atlantic Conference contests at Maine-Farmington Friday, Dec. 2, at 5:30 p.m. and at Thomas College Saturday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m.
Castleton, 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the NAC, overcame an eight-point first half deficit to defeat New England College, 90-77, Wednesday evening in Glenbrook Gym. Five players scored in double figures for Castleton, led by Jordan Nelson with 22 points and Tondi Mushandu with a career-high 20 points. Edmund Fitzgerald notched his second double-double in three games with 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Julian Santos also earned a career high with 12 points.
Chad Copeland remains the team's leading scorer, averaging 17.6 points per game on 52.5 percent field goal shooting and 77.8 percent free throw shooting. Santos is currently second in the NAC in three-point field goal percentage at 71.4 percent, and Mushandu is third in the league in field goal percentage at 64.7 percent. As a team, Castleton is averaging 71.0 points per game on 49.4 percent field goal shooting, including 30.6 percent from behind the three-point line, and 73.6 percent free throw shooting.
Maine-Farmington is 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the NAC after losing its conference opener to Husson Tuesday night, 92-81. As a team, the Beavers are averaging 72.3 points per game on 48.2 percent field goal shooting, including 30.6 percent from behind the three-point line, and 70.1 percent free throw shooting.
Issac Witham leads UMF in scoring with 16.3 points per game, followed by Amir Moss at 14.5 points per game. Bill Ruby is contributing 11.5 points per game, plus he leads the team with 8.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals per contest, and Riley Robinson is averaging 10.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.
Castleton swept the season series from Maine-Farmington last year, defeating the Beavers 98-71 at Glenbrook Gym and 62-56 in Farmington, Maine. In the first meeting, Rob Coloutti led the Spartans with 26 points thanks in part to six three-pointers, and Mushandu notched a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. In the rematch, Coloutti again made six three-pointers to lead Castleton with 22 points. The Beavers last defeated the Spartans Feb. 14, 2015 (90-84) in Castleton and last won at home over Castleton Jan. 26, 2013 (102-94).
Thomas enters the weekend with a 3-2 overall record and a 1-0 mark in the NAC after defeating Maine Maritime Tuesday night, 89-74. As a team, the Terriers are averaging 75.8 points per game on 46.2 percent field goal shooting, including 31.3 percent from behind the three-point line, and 66.7 percent free throw shooting.
Tyheem Simon leads the Terriers and is second in the NAC in scoring at 21.4 points per game, shooting 55.6 percent from the field and 81.1 percent from the free throw line. Carlos Gonzalez is contributing 12.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.4 blocked shots per game as he is shooting 65.8 percent from the field, second-best in the league. Ian King leads the conference with 7.2 assists per game.
Castleton and Thomas met three times during the 2015-16 season, starting with an 83-72 win for Thomas at Glenbrook Gym despite 20 points and 13 rebounds from Copeland. The Spartans won the rematch on Thomas's home floor, 76-75, as Casey McGraw hit a three-pointer with 44 seconds remaining in regulation to give Castleton the lead for good. Back in Waterville, Maine, 18 days later for the NAC Tournament quarterfinal, the Terriers shot 55.8 percent from the field and dominated the boards, 45-26, to defeat the Spartans, 83-65.