PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Castleton University men's basketball team used its full-court press and hot shooting from long distance to establish a significant lead before Plymouth State chipped away late in the second half, but it was not enough as the Spartans defeated the Panthers, 100-93, Tuesday night in a non-conference contest at Foley Gym.
Five players scored in double figures for the Spartans, led by Ben Mrowka with 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field, including 7-of-12 from behind the three-point line. Jordan Nelson hit 11-of-16 attempts from the free throw line as he finished with 18 points, six rebounds, and three assists, while Pavin Parrish was 10-of-12 from the charity stripe for 12 points along with five rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
Plymouth State went on an 11-0 scoring run in the first half, led by Mike Osgood with seven points, to pull ahead 19-9. Down 26-17 midway through the first half, Castleton chipped away at the Panther lead, capped by consecutive three-pointers by Mrowka and Nelson to pull the Spartans within one at 32-31.
After Plymouth State extended its lead to 37-31, the Spartans put together a 14-4 scoring run, punctuated by three-pointers from Denis LeCours and Mrowka, to take the lead at 45-41. Janvier Johnson converted a traditional three-point play to close the Panther deficit to one at 47-46, but Castleton would respond by scoring the final nine points of the first half, capped by a three-pointer from Nathaniel Kingsley, to go into the locker room at halftime ahead 56-46.
Mrowka hit two three-pointers in the first minute of the second half, but a three-pointer by Liam Densmore closed the Spartan lead to 12 at 70-58. The Spartans put together a 17-5 scoring run to establish their biggest lead of the night at 91-69 on another Kingsley three-pointer.
Plymouth State (2-1) put together one final rally, a 13-1 scoring run capped by a traditional three-point play by Jaylen Leroy, to close to within 10 with less than three minutes remaining in the second half. However, Castleton made enough free throws and defensive stops down the stretch to clinch the victory.
As a team, Castleton shot 39.4 percent (28-of-71) from the field, including 13-of-38 from behind the three-point line, and 72.1 percent (31-of-43) from the free throw line. The Spartans forced 30 Panther turnovers, leading to 20 points, while Castleton committed just 16 turnovers while dishing out 18 assists.
Leroy led all players with 29 points, Osgood finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, and Densmore added 15 points for the Panthers. Plymouth State shot 46.3 percent (31-of-67) from the field, including 6-of-24 from behind the three-point line, and 83.3 percent (25-of-30) from the free throw line. Plymouth State dominated the boards, 51-33, including 18 offensive rebounds that led to 19 second-chance points for the Panthers.
Castleton (2-2) hosts Southern Vermont Saturday, Nov. 25, at 1 p.m. at Glenbrook Gym.