CASTLETON, Vt. – After seeing a double-digit lead evaporate and actually falling behind late in the second half, Castleton University regrouped and recovered to defeat New England College, 92-85, Saturday afternoon in a North Atlantic Conference men's collegiate basketball game at Glenbrook Gym.
Ben Mrowka led Castleton, hitting six three-pointers as he finished with 20 points and eight rebounds. For the second consecutive game, Tondi Mushandu notched a double-double, collecting 11 of his 13 points in the second half along with 13 rebounds, while Pavin Parrish scored 12 points and Nathaniel Kingsley contributed 10 points and eight rebounds.
Ahead by as much as 25 points in the first half, Castleton took a 12-point lead into the locker room at halftime. After Mushandu made the first basket of the second half, New England College scored 14 unanswered points over the next four minutes to tie the game at 48-48.
Consecutive three-pointers by Taurian Archie and Mrowka midway through the second half extended the Castleton lead back to seven at 66-59, but NEC once again rallied back, closing to within one at 67-66 on two made free throws by Ricky Leonard. After a Chris O'Brien three-pointer gave the Spartans a 74-68 advantage, the Pilgrims rattled off nine unanswered points, taking the lead on a layup by Jason Jones off a steal and an assist from Calvin Cheek.
Down 85-82 after two made free throws by Izaiah Winston-Brooks, Jordan Nelson made two layups sandwiched around two free throws by Mushandu to allow Castleton to retake the lead late in the game. The Pilgrims missed eight field goal attempts in a row down the stretch as the Spartans scored the final eight points of the contest.
Jones notched his own double-double, shooting 8-for-9 from the field for 18 points along with 11 rebounds, while Winston-Brooks and Leonard each finished the game with 17 points and six rebounds and Cheek added 10 points, four rebounds, seven assists, and seven steals.
New England College (4-3, 0-1 NAC) shot 45.3 percent (29-for-64) from the field, including 4-for-18 from behind the three-point line, and 60.5 percent (23-for-38) from the free throw line. The Pilgrims committed 25 turnovers that led to 28 Spartan points.
As a team, Castleton shot 43.7 percent (31-for-71) from the field, including 17-for-47 from behind the three-point line, and 76.5 percent (13-for-17) from the charity stripe. The Spartans won the rebounding battle, 52-36, and overcame 33 turnovers that led to 31 Pilgrim points.
Castleton (3-4, 1-1 NAC) looks to get back to .500 overall when it travels to face Colby-Sawyer Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m. The Spartans then welcome Maine Maritime next Friday, Dec. 8, and Husson next Saturday, Dec. 9, for two more home conference games before the end of the fall semester.