CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University men's basketball team closes the 2016-17 regular season with two crucial conference contests, facing Lyndon State on the road Thursday, Feb. 16, at 5:30 p.m. before hosting Johnson State Saturday, Feb. 18, at 1 p.m.
The Spartans are 15-7 overall and 10-6 within the North Atlantic Conference, tied with Thomas College for second place in the league standings. Lyndon State and Maine-Farmington are tied for fourth place at 9-7, meaning that Castleton can be anything from the second seed receiving a bye into the conference tournament semifinals to the fifth seed having to travel for a quarterfinal game next Tuesday.
Chad Copeland, one of two seniors to be honored on Senior Day Saturday, leads Castleton with 17.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Tondi Mushandu remains in the top 25 in the country in field goal percentage at 61.4 percent as he is averaging 12.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Rob Pinnock will be the other senior recognized before Saturday's game after appearing in 38 games during his Castleton career.
Lyndon State has won four of its last five games to improve to 10-12 overall and 9-7 within the conference, including a 70-55 victory over Johnson State last Saturday. As a team, the Hornets are scoring 72.1 points per game and shooting 41.7 percent from the field, including 36.2 percent from behind the three-point line, and 68.0 percent from the free throw line.
Charles Correa Jr. leads Lyndon State with 14.1 points and 2.0 steals per game, making almost three three-pointers per contest while shooting 38.6 percent from behind the three-point line. Josiah Woodruff is averaging 12.6 points per game, Raymond Monroe is scoring 10.5 points per contest, and Darnay Gray is contributing 10.3 points per game.
On Dec. 10 at Glenbrook Gym, Castleton used a second-half scoring run to defeat Lyndon State, 58-50. Copeland finished with 12 points and six rebounds, while Pavin Parrish scored 11 points and Julian Santos contributed 10 points off the bench for the Spartans. Correa led the Hornets with 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Gray added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Johnson State is 9-14 overall and 6-10 within the conference. The Badgers have experience with extra periods of basketball, going 3-0 in overtime games this season. As a team, Johnson State is scoring 77.0 points per game and shooting 43.2 percent from the field, including 36.3 percent from behind the three-point line, and 69.0 percent from the free throw line.
Marqwon Wynn leads the team in scoring with 17.6 points per game, followed by Kawaun Chavis at 15.3 points per game and Benjamin Holl with 12.9 points per game. Demetrius Slade is another player to watch for Johnson State, averaging 7.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.7 steals, and 1.3 blocked shots per game.
The Spartans jumped out to an early lead and held on to defeat the Badgers, 79-67, on Dec. 8 in Johnson, Vt. Copeland shot 12-of-17 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free throw line for 30 points, plus he pulled down 10 rebounds and dished out four assists. Edmund Fitzgerald also notched a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Wynn led Johnson State with 20 points, five rebounds, and three assists.