CASTLETON, Vt. – For the second time in 24 hours, Castleton University rallied from a halftime deficit, this time overcoming a seven-point lead for Thomas College at the break to defeat the Terriers, 59-48, Saturday afternoon in a North Atlantic Conference men's basketball game at Glenbrook Gym.
Despite its best efforts, Castleton was still behind 37-31 with 11:27 remaining in the second half after Carlos Gonzalez hit a layup. On Castleton's next possession, Denis LeCours hit a three-pointer, the first three-pointer made by either team in the entire game, and Richard Walker followed with a steal and fast break dunk to close the Spartan deficit to one at 37-36 in just 37 seconds.
After over two minutes without a point, Walker made one of two free throws to tie the game at 37-37, and then Casey Belade hit a three-pointer to give the Spartans their first lead of the day at 40-37. Thomas's John Morgan responded with a jumper to cut the Terrier deficit to one, but Castleton would score nine unanswered points over the next three minutes, with Pavin Parrish contributing seven of those points, to extend its lead to 49-39 with 4:45 left in regulation.
Thomas (7-9, 4-5 NAC) hit four free throws to close to within six, but Walker converted a traditional three-point play, starting a 10-3 Castleton scoring run down the stretch to seal the Spartans' fifth victory in the last six games.
Parrish was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line as he scored all 13 of his points in the second half, while Tondi Mushandu finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, and five steals. Walker played 24 minutes off the bench for the Spartans, enjoying his best game of the season with 12 points and seven rebounds.
In the first half, Thomas took an early 13-4 lead before Castleton put together a 12-4 scoring run, led by Josh Hanson in his first career collegiate start with six points, to close to within one at 17-16. The score remained the same for over four minutes before Zach Mackinnon hit a layup for Thomas, starting a 10-4 Terrier scoring run that gave the visitors a 27-20 advantage at halftime.
Morgan led the Terriers with 14 points, while Mackinnon earned nine points and seven rebounds and Gonzalez added seven points, 12 rebounds, and two blocked shots. Thomas won the rebounding battle, 46-39, including 12 offensive rebounds that led to 13 second-chance points for the Terriers.
As a team, Castleton shot 36.1 percent (22-of-61) from the field, including 3-of-20 from behind the three-point line, and 60 percent (12-of-20) from the free throw line. On the other hand, Thomas hit 33.3 percent (18-of-54) of its field goal attempts, including just 1-of-16 from behind the three-point line, and 64.7 percent (11-of-17) from the free throw line. Thomas also committed 23 turnovers, leading to 18 Spartan points.
Castleton (9-8, 6-4 NAC) hits the road next weekend, traveling to play Husson Friday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m. and Maine Maritime Saturday, Jan. 27, at 3 p.m. The Spartans return to Glenbrook Gym Tuesday, Jan. 30, to face Lyndon starting at 7:30 p.m.