CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University men's basketball team looks to get back on the winning track as it hosts Maine-Farmington Friday, Jan. 19, at 7:30 p.m. and Thomas College Saturday, Jan. 20, at 1 p.m. at Glenbrook Gym.
The Spartans fell to 7-8 overall and 4-4 within the North Atlantic Conference after losing to New England College Tuesday night, 83-58. Castleton enters the weekend in fifth place in the NAC standings, a half-game behind fourth place Thomas and one game ahead of sixth place Green Mountain.
As a team, Castleton is scoring 75.8 points per game and allowing 77.8 points per game. The Spartans are shooting 42.8 percent from the field, including 28.7 percent from behind the three-point line, and 64.3 percent from the free throw line.
Maine-Farmington hopes to snap its seven-game losing streak, as the Beavers are 4-10 overall and 2-6 in NAC play, sitting in ninth place in the regular season standings. As a team, UMF is averaging 71.1 points per game and allowing 79.1 points per contest, plus the Beavers are shooting 42.4 percent from the field, including 33.8 percent from behind the three-point line, and 75.8 percent from the free throw line.
Riley Robinson leads the team and is fourth in the NAC in scoring, averaging 16.3 points per game. Milani Hicks is contributing 15.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game, while Issac Witham is scoring 11.9 points per game for the Beavers.
This is the 30th meeting all-time between Castleton and Maine-Farmington, with the Spartans holding a 16-13 series advantage. Castleton swept the season series last year, starting with an 83-66 victory in Farmington, Maine, led in part by Tondi Mushandu with 16 points, seven rebounds, and five steals. In the rematch at Glenbrook Gym, the Spartans rallied from a five-point halftime deficit to defeat the Beavers, 78-71, with Mushandu finishing with 22 points, nine rebounds, and three assists.
Thomas College enters the weekend with a 7-7 overall record after wins over Maine-Farmington (65-62) and Maine-Augusta (108-82). The Terriers, who face Green Mountain Friday before coming to Castleton Saturday, are in fourth place in the NAC standings at 4-3, a half-game ahead of the Spartans.
As a team, the Terriers are scoring 73.0 points per game, allowing 73.3 points per game, and shooting 46.7 percent from the field, including 33.0 percent from behind the three-point line, and 62.4 percent from the free throw line.
Zach Mackinnon leads the team in scoring at 12.4 points per game thanks in part to a three-point field goal percentage at 40.4 percent, while John Morgan is shooting 55.6 percent from the field, fourth in the league, while scoring 12.2 points per game. Carlos Gonzalez is averaging 11.6 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, leading the NAC in rebounding as well as second in field goal percentage at 57.4 percent.
Thomas and Castleton will be facing off for the 29th time, with the Spartans holding a 19-9 series advantage. The teams split their regular season meetings last year, with each squad winning on its home floor. In the semifinals of the 2017 NAC Basketball Tournament in Bangor, Maine, the third-seeded Terriers took the early lead and held on for a 71-57 win over the second-seeded Spartans. Mackinnon hit five three-pointers to lead Thomas with 15 points, while Chad Copeland paced Castleton with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
After Saturday, Castleton plays five of its final eight games on the road, starting next weekend with the first of two trips to Maine. The Spartans travel to Husson Friday, Jan. 26, and to Maine Maritime Saturday, Jan. 27.