CASTLETON, Vt. – After falling victim to the long distance shooting of the University of Maine-Farmington early in the game, Castleton University increased its defensive intensity as well as its offensive output, coming from behind for a 75-68 victory Friday night in a North Atlantic Conference men's basketball game at Glenbrook Gym.
Pavin Parrish hit three three-pointers and went 8-for-11 from the free throw line for a season-high 17 points, while Julian Santos also hit three three-pointers as he finished with 12 points. Tondi Mushandu notched a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Jordan Nelson contributed 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocked shots.
Maine-Farmington (4-11, 2-7 NAC) went on an 11-2 scoring run over a two-minutes span in the first half to open an 18-9 lead, and then a three-pointer by Eric Berry as well as two three-pointers from Issac Witham helped extend that advantage to 27-16 halfway through the first half. Two of Parrish's three-pointers highlighted a 13-2 Castleton scoring run that tied the game at 29-29 with 4:26 remaining in the first half.
The Beavers scored six straight points over the next three minutes to regain the momentum, but Parrish was fouled on a three-point shot attempt and made all three free throws to cut UMF's lead in half at 37-34 at halftime.
Castleton scored the first eight points of the second half, with a layup by Mushandu two minutes after halftime putting the Spartans on top, 38-37, and four straight points from Jordan extending that lead to five points. UMF closed to within two twice, but four straight points from Mushandu and a three-pointer by Santos increased the Castleton lead back to seven at 51-44.
A layup by Amir Moss brought the Beavers to within three at 51-48, but Santos hit another three-pointer and Castleton was able to keep UMF at arm's length the rest of the way. The Beavers could not get any closer than five points down in the final minutes as Castleton hit enough free throws down the stretch to seal its fourth victory in the last five games.
All five members of the Beaver starting lineup reached double figures in scoring, led by Milani Hicks with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Witham hit four three-pointers on his way to a 14-point performance, while Riley Robinson finished with 13 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Berry and Moss contributed 12 points apiece, with Berry also collecting nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
As a team, the Beavers shot 42.9 percent (24-of-56) from the field, including 6-of-24 from behind the three-point line, and 87.5 percent (14-of-16) from the free throw line. UMF did commit 17 turnovers leading to 19 Castleton points, and the Spartans also won the rebounding battle, 39-34.
The Spartans shot 45.8 percent (27-of-59) from the field, including 7-of-19 from behind the three-point line, and 56 percent (14-of-25) from the free throw line. In the second half, Castleton hit 60 percent (15-of-25) of its field goal attempts to help the comeback effort.
Castleton (8-8, 5-4 NAC) hosts Thomas College in a crucial NAC contest Saturday, Jan. 20, starting at 3 p.m. at Glenbrook Gym. The Terriers fell a half-game behind the Spartans in the conference standings at 4-4 after losing at Green Mountain Friday, 64-52.