CASTLETON, Vt. – Locked in a four-way tie for second place in the North Atlantic Conference standings, the Castleton University men's basketball team hosts two of the other teams in that tie, welcoming Thomas College Friday, Feb. 3, at 5:30 p.m. and Maine-Farmington Saturday, Feb. 4, at 1 p.m. to Glenbrook Gym.
The Spartans lost consecutive games for the first time this season, falling to Green Mountain, 80-68, and Colby-Sawyer in overtime, 77-74, on the road. Castleton is now 12-6 overall and 7-5 in league play, three games behind NAC leader Husson with six conference contests remaining on the Spartans' schedule.
Chad Copeland remains Castleton's leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 18.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Tondi Mushandu is averaging 12.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game thanks in part to the 13th-best field goal percentage in the country at 63.5 percent. Edmund Fitzgerald is third in the NAC in field goal percentage at 58.3 percent as he is contributing 9.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.9 blocked shots per game.
Thomas is also 7-5 in conference play as part of a 9-10 overall record, splitting last weekend's home games with a 71-59 victory over Johnson State and a 72-65 loss to Lyndon State. As a team, the Terriers are scoring 71.2 points per game and shooting 44.6 percent from the field, including 33.5 percent from behind the three-point line, and 69.2 percent from the free throw line.
Tyheem Simon is second in the NAC in both scoring at 22.2 points per game and three-point field goal percentage at 45.2 percent. He is also fourth in the league in field goal percentage at 56.3 percent. Carlos Gonzalez is second in the league in rebounding with 10.1 boards per game and in field goal percentage at 58.5 percent as he is averaging 13.7 points per game.
Two months ago in Waterville, Maine, Thomas hit 13 three-pointers to pull out a 70-69 victory over Castleton in a game that saw seven ties and 11 lead changes. Four Castleton players reached double figures in scoring, led by a double-double from Mushandu with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Simon shot 10-of-16 from the field, including 4-of-7 from behind the three-point line, and 5-of-7 from the free throw line for 29 points and eight rebounds, while Ian King dished out a game-high 10 assists.
Maine-Farmington begins the weekend with a 7-5 league mark as part of an 8-11 overall record, as the Beavers have won four straight conference games entering their Friday tilt at Green Mountain. As a team, the Beavers are scoring 71.3 points per game and shooting 44.4 percent from the field, including 31.8 percent from behind the three-point line, and 69.7 percent from the free throw line.
Amir Moss leads Maine-Farmington in scoring with 15.2 points per game, followed by Riley Robinson with 12.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. Tyus Ripley has played the last eight games for the Beavers and has come alive recently, averaging 15.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 1.0 blocked shots per game in the last four contests, thanks in part to shooting 59.1 percent (26-of-44) from the field during that span.
In this season's first meeting between the two schools Dec. 2 in Farmington, Maine, the Spartans shot 54.5 percent from the field on their way to an 83-66 victory over the Beavers. Copeland hit 7-of-11 shots from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line for 23 points along with eight rebounds, while Mushandu contributed 16 points, seven rebounds, and five steals. Ryan Camire came off the bench and led the Beavers with 14 points.
After this weekend, Castleton plays three straight road games before the regular season finale Saturday, Feb. 18, against Johnson State.