CASTLETON, Vt. – Colby-Sawyer College gained control of the game with a scoring run late in the first half, but Castleton University made a furious comeback towards the end of the game, one that would fall just short as the Chargers hung on to defeat the Spartans, 73-70, Tuesday night in a North Atlantic Conference men's basketball game at Glenbrook Gym.
Pavin Parrish shot 7-of-11 from the field, including 4-of-7 from behind the three-point line, and 4-of-5 from the free throw line as he scored a season-high 22 points. Tondi Mushandu finished with 10 points, six rebounds, and three assists, Tyler Arsenault and Julian Santos scored eight points apiece, and Jordan Nelson contributed six points, three rebounds, and seven assists.
Castleton ran out to a 15-6 lead five minutes into the game, and then a layup by Josh Hanson gave the Spartans a 20-12 advantage. Colby-Sawyer put together a 9-2 scoring run to close to within one at 22-21, but Castleton answered with baskets by Nelson and Arsenault to extend its lead back to five at 26-21 with 5:34 left in the first half.
Colby-Sawyer (14-7, 11-4 NAC) closed out the first half with a 16-2 scoring run to take a 37-28 lead into the locker room at halftime. The two teams basically traded points until midway through the second half, when Santos hit a three-pointer and Parrish converted a traditional three-point play to close the Spartan deficit to six at 50-44.
The Chargers answered back with a 9-2 scoring run, capped by a three-pointer from Taylor Grande, and then layups by Dana Bean and Nate Trevino gave Colby-Sawyer its largest lead of the night at 65-51 with 5:19 remaining in regulation. Castleton started chipping away at the Charger lead, first hitting four free throws before a steal and eventual dunk by Richard Walker brought the Spartan deficit back into single digits.
Down by eight in the final two minutes, the Spartans continued to rally, as Nelson hit a three-pointer, and then Trevino would miss three of four free throw attempts to keep Castleton within two possessions. It quickly became a one-possession game when Parrish hit a three-pointer with 46 seconds left on the clock, but Jourdain Bell was able to hit two free throws to extend the Charger lead back to five at 70-65.
Parrish hit a contested jumper with 33 seconds remaining, and then Grande would make one of two free throw chances to give Colby-Sawyer a four-point advantage. After empty possessions by each team, Walker hit a three-pointer with 0.8 seconds left on the clock to bring Castleton within one at 71-70.
Nelson fouled Grande without any time elapsing, and Grande made both free throws, even though he wanted to miss the second one in an attempt to run out the clock. Denis LeCours launched an inbounds pass into the Castleton frontcourt that Walker caught, but he was unable to launch a potential game tying three-pointer before time ran out.
Bean shot 9-of-13 from the field as he led the Chargers with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Patrick Coffey scored 16 points and Trevino contributed 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and two steals. As a team, Colby-Sawyer shot 52.8 percent (28-of-53) from the field, including 2-of-9 from behind the three-point line, and 60 percent (15-of-25) from the free throw line.
The Spartans made half of their field goal attempts (26-of-52), including 9-of-24 shots from long distance, and 81.8 percent (9-of-11) of their free throw chances. Colby-Sawyer won the rebounding battle, 30-27, including nine offensive rebounds that led to 10 second-chance points. The Chargers did commit 13 turnovers that led to 18 Castleton points.
Castleton (12-10, 9-6 NAC) will continue to jockey for position within the NAC standings as it hits the road to face Thomas Friday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m. and Maine-Farmington Saturday, Feb. 10, at 3 p.m.