POULTNEY, Vt. – Castleton University was forced to play from behind the entire afternoon, putting together a rally in the second half to close its deficit, but Green Mountain College held off the comeback attempt and defeat the Spartans, 80-68, Saturday in a North Atlantic Conference men's basketball game at the Eagle Dome.
Chad Copeland led Castleton with 14 points and two steals, plus he pulled down six rebounds, while Jordan Nelson finished with 12 points and three assists and Edmund Fitzgerald notched a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Although the two teams committed a similar number of turnovers, the Spartans did not take advantage, scoring eight points off 13 Eagle turnovers, while Green Mountain scored 18 points off 12 Castleton turnovers.
Green Mountain (9-8, 6-5 NAC) scored the first five points of the game and opened an eight-point lead on consecutive three-pointers by Patrick Rittmon and Javier Lugris. The long ball continued to help the Eagles, as back-to-back three-pointers by Pierce Weatherspoon and Dakota Dodson midway through the first half opened a 32-17 lead for the home team.
A dunk by Weatherspoon and a Rittmon three-pointer late in the first half gave Green Mountain a 46-29 lead at halftime, but Castleton put together an 8-2 scoring run, led by three-pointers from Ben Mrowka and Nelson, to close to within 10 at 51-41. A three-pointer by Pavin Parrish with 11:02 left in the second half brought the Spartans within eight, 59-51, but Green Mountain went on a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to reestablish a comfortable lead.
Castleton made one final push, putting together a 15-5 scoring run to close to within eight at 74-66 with 1:29 remaining in regulation. Thomas Brown went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 1:20 to close out the game for the Eagles.
Brown notched a double-double, shooting 9-of-14 from the field and 11-of-11 from the free throw line for 30 points, 26 of those coming in the second half, along with 12 rebounds. As a team, Green Mountain shot 49.1 percent (28-of-57) from the field, including 10-of-28 from behind the three-point line, and 87.5 percent (14-of-16) from the free throw line.
The Spartans shot 39.1 percent (25-of-64) from the field, including 9-of-30 from behind the three-point line, and 81.8 percent (9-of-11) from the free throw line. Despite the loss, Castleton remains in second place in the conference standings, but is now just a half-game ahead of Thomas and Maine-Farmington.
Castleton (12-5, 7-4 NAC) travels to New London, N.H., to face Colby-Sawyer Tuesday, Jan. 31, starting at 5:30 p.m. The Spartans defeated the Chargers, 101-92, just over two weeks ago at Glenbrook Gym.