DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The Castleton University men's basketball team used its up-tempo style and full-court pressure to bother Curry College, forcing 31 turnovers as the Spartans defeated the Colonels, 101-74, Friday evening in the first round of the Hampton Inn Classic, hosted by UMass-Dartmouth at the Tripp Athletic Center.
Jordan Nelson once again led the Spartans in scoring with 15 points, plus he collected five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Pavin Parrish finished with 12 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals, and Denis LeCours shot 5-of-7 from the field as he scored 12 points, plus he dished out a team-high four assists.
The Spartans jumped on the board quickly, scoring the first eight points of the game and then extending their lead to 22-8 on a three-pointer by Chris O'Brien. Curry closed to within nine at 27-18 on a dunk by Nick George, but Castleton increased the lead back into double digits, scoring five points in the final minute of the first half on a three-pointer by Nelson and a layup by LeCours off an assist from Nelson.
Castleton put the game away in the second half thanks to a 19-0 scoring run over the span of six minutes, capped by a three-pointer from LeCours. After Curry broke that string, the Spartans scored nine more unanswered points, led by Taurian Archie with five points.
Curry (0-1) put together a 10-0 scoring run that was stopped by a three-pointer from Richard Walker. Louis Stein hit three three-pointers down the stretch to bring the Colonels closer, but the margin was too big for Curry to overcome.
Castleton head coach Paul Culpo was able to play all 19 players on the active roster, with 16 of them scoring points and no one on the floor for more than 17 minutes. As a team, the Spartans shot 45.8 percent (38-for-83) from the field, including 11-for-42 from behind the three-point line, and 70 percent (14-for-20) from the free throw line.
Jared Thorpe-Johnson shot 7-for-11 from the field to lead the Colonels with 15 points, with Stein scoring 11 points and Jeff Card contributing 10 points. Curry did hit 57.4 percent (27-for-47) of its field goal attempts, including 10-for-15 from behind the three-point arc, but the Colonels converted only 50 percent (10-for-20) of their free throw chances.
The Spartans scored 32 points off the 31 Curry turnovers, plus they pulled down 28 offensive rebounds, more than the Colonels' 27 total rebounds, leading to 22 second chance points. The 27-point win is the largest for Castleton since a 98-71 victory over Maine-Farmington on Dec. 4, 2015.
Castleton (1-1) will face UMass-Dartmouth in the tournament title game Saturday, Nov. 18, scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff.