WATERVILLE, Maine – Castleton University held the lead for a major portion of its second game in a 24-hour span, but Thomas College connected on 13 three-pointers to defeat the Spartans, 70-69, Saturday afternoon in a North Atlantic Conference men's basketball game at Larry Mahaney Gymnasium.
Castleton opened a 14-4 lead eight minutes into the game, with Edmund Fitzgerald scoring seven points and Tondi Mushandu adding six points. Thomas responded with an 11-2 scoring run over the next four minutes, including three-pointers from Jordan Derosby, Tailour Hall, and Matt Allen.
Ben Mrowka hit two three-pointers to keep the Spartans ahead, but another three-pointer by Derosby gave the Terriers a one-point advantage at 29-28. Castleton answered back with six straight points, the first four scored by Mushandu, but Tyheem Simon hit a three-pointer as time ran out in the first half to pull Thomas to within one at halftime, 35-34.
Thomas (5-2, 3-0 NAC) took the lead early in the second half on consecutive layups by Simon, but Castleton went on an 8-3 scoring run to retake the lead four minutes after halftime. Zach MacKinnon made consecutive shots to tie the game at 45-45, and then back-to-back three-pointers from Derosby put the Terriers on top, 51-47.
Down by four late in the second half, Castleton pulled ahead on a traditional three-point play by Jordan Nelson and two free throws from Chad Copeland. Jordan Greenleaf hit a three-pointer with 3:27 left in the second half to put Thomas back on top. After layups by Mushandu and Nelson as well as a free throw from Copeland, Simon hit a three-pointer with 1:20 remaining in regulation to give the Terriers the lead for good, and his two free throws and breakaway layup in the final minute iced the game.
Mushandu led Castleton with a double-double, scoring 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field and pulling down 11 rebounds. Nelson hit 6-of-7 shots from the field as he scored 15 points and earned six steals, while Fitzgerald finished with 14 points, six rebounds, and three blocked shots. Copeland added 12 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, but he shot just 4-of-17 from the field.
Simon hit 10-of-16 shots from the field, including 4-of-7 from behind the three-point line, as he led the Terriers with 29 points, eight rebounds, and three steals, and Derosby also hit four three-pointers on his way to a 20-point performance. As a team, Thomas shot 44.8 percent (26-of-58) from the field, including 13-of-30 from behind the three-point line, and 71.4 percent (5-of-7) from the free throw line.
The Spartans shot 54 percent (27-of-50) from the field, including 4-of-10 from behind the three-point line, but only 55 percent (11-of-20) from the free throw line.
Castleton (5-2, 2-1 NAC) returns to Vermont next week, heading to Johnson State College Thursday, Dec. 8, for a NAC contest starting at 5:30 p.m. before hosting Lyndon State next Saturday, Dec. 10, at 1 p.m.