DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Castleton University took the early lead, but UMass Dartmouth increased the pressure on both ends of the court as the Corsairs defeated the Spartans, 103-95, Saturday night in the championship game of the 2017 Hampton Inn Classic at the Tripp Athletic Center.
Ben Mrowka, named to the All-Tournament Team, led the Spartans with 20 points as he hit six three-pointers. Julian Santos shot 8-of-11 from the field as he scored 18 points, while Pavin Parrish hit 8-of-10 attempts from the free throw line to finish with 10 points, five rebounds, and seven assists.
Castleton scored the first seven points of the game and opened an 18-5 lead six minutes into the contest thanks in part to two three-pointers each from Mrowka and Casey Belade. After another Mrowka three-pointer increased the Spartan lead to 30-16 halfway through the first half, UMass Dartmouth scored 14 unanswered points over the next three-and-a-half minutes to pull into a 30-30 tie.
Mrowka snapped the Corsair streak with another three-pointer, but a three-pointer from Jake Ashworth and a traditional three-point play from Arinze Obiora put the home team ahead, 38-34. Four straight points by Denis LeCours created another tie at 38-38, but Ashworth converted once again from long distance, and the Corsairs held the lead for the rest of the first half, going into halftime ahead 48-45.
In the second half, layups by Eli Lombardi and Santos tied the game at 63-63, but UMass Dartmouth responded with eight unanswered points, punctuated by a dunk from Joshua Imadiyi. Castleton answered right back with its own 8-0 run, the last three points from Parrish, to create another tie at 73-73 with 6:54 left in the second half.
UMass Dartmouth (2-1) took the lead for good with seven straight points, capped by a three-pointer from Ashworth. Consecutive layups by Tyler Arsenault brought the Spartans within two, but that would be as close as the game would get, as Imadiyi and Cody Borges nailed back-to-back three-pointers to give the Corsairs a comfortable lead the rest of the way.
Obiora was named the Tournament MVP after notching a double-double with 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field and 6-of-6 free throw shooting along with 13 rebounds. Ashworth scored 21 points, while Borges contributed 15 points off the bench for the Corsairs.
As a team, Castleton shot 49.3 percent (33-of-67) from the field, including 13-of-33 from behind the three-point line, and 66.7 percent (16-of-24) from the free throw line. UMass Dartmouth hit 54.7 percent (35-of-64) of its field goal attempts, including 6-of-16 from long distance, and 87.1 percent (27-of-31) of its free throw chances.
Castleton (1-2) heads to Plymouth, N.H., to face the Plymouth State Panthers Tuesday, Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m. The Spartans will host Southern Vermont Saturday, Nov. 25, starting at 1 p.m. at Glenbrook Gym.