Spartan Men’s Basketball Loses Close Conference Contest

Spartan Men’s Basketball Loses Close Conference Contest

NEW LONDON, N.H. – Castleton University seemingly had control of the game, but Colby-Sawyer College made one final charge in the final three minutes of regulation, as the Chargers defeated the Spartans, 71-69, Tuesday night in a North Atlantic Conference men's basketball game at Coffin Field House.

Castleton scored the first five points of the second half and then traded baskets with Colby-Sawyer to maintain its lead, going ahead 55-48 on a layup by Jordan Nelson. The Chargers put together an 8-1 scoring run to tie the game at 56-56, but Pavin Parrish hit three free throws to reestablish Castleton's lead at 59-56.

Ben Mrowka hit two free throws to give the Spartans a 67-62 advantage with less than four minutes remaining in regulation, but then the Chargers rallied back, as Taylor Grande hit a three-pointer and Patrick Coffey hit a layup to tie the game at 67-67. Parrish and Coffey exchanged layups to create another tie at 69-69 with one minute to play in the second half.

Both teams had a chance to gain the lead, but missed their scoring chances. Castleton had the opportunity to take the final shot of regulation, but it was off-target, and Jourdain Bell grabbed the rebound while being fouled with 1.1 seconds left on the clock. Bell converted both free throws, and the Spartans' final in-bounds pass was deflected, running the clock out.

Tondi Mushandu led Castleton with 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field, including a rare three-pointer, just the seventh of his career, plus he collected seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals. After five games with exactly 12 points, Parrish finally broke through with a new season-high of 13 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists, Nathaniel Kingsley contributed 12 points, and Nelson added seven points, five rebounds, eight assists, and three steals.

The first half was a series of runs, starting when Castleton put together a 13-2 scoring run thanks in part to three three-pointers to pull ahead, 18-10. Colby-Sawyer responded with an 18-2 scoring outburst over a six-minute span, punctuated by five straight points from Grande, to retake the lead at 28-20 with six minutes left in the first half.

Down 34-22 two minutes later, the Spartans started their own rally, outscoring the Chargers 15-2 over the final four minutes of the half. Mushandu hit his three-pointer in the final seconds of the half to give Castleton a 37-36 advantage at halftime.

Colby-Sawyer (4-2, 2-0 NAC) was led by Grande with 19 points, Coffey with 15 points, and Dana Bean with 10 points and 12 rebounds. As a team, the Chargers shot 43.1 percent (25-for-58) from the field, including 6-for-22 from behind the three-point line, and 78.9 percent (15-for-19) from the free throw line.

The Spartans shot 39.4 percent (26-for-66) from the field, including 7-for-36 from behind the three-point line, and 76.9 percent (10-for-13) from the free throw line. The rebounding battle ended with the Chargers earning one more board (39-38), but the Spartans did score 23 points off 17 Colby-Sawyer turnovers.

Castleton (3-5, 1-2 NAC) hosts Maine Maritime Friday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. and Husson Saturday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. at Glenbrook Gym.