KEENE, N.H. – The Castleton University men's basketball team dropped a Little East Conference contest on the road on Thursday night, falling to Keene State by a final score of 83-70.
The Spartans (3-11, 0-6 LEC) had a season-best day shooting the ball, going 26-for-50 (52.0 percent) from the field, including a 7-of-11 mark from three-point range. The Owls (8-6, 4-2 LEC) shot 29-for-65 (44.6 percent) on the day while knocking down 12-of-34 from three. Castleton held a 29-20 edge on the glass, but the Spartans turnovers proved costly as the Spartans coughed the ball up 21 times en route to 18 Keene State points.
Casey Belade posted a career-high 20 points in the loss, shooting 9-of-13 from the floor with a 2-for-3 mark from distance. The junior added six rebounds, while teammates Eric Shaw (11) and Igor Almeida (10) joined him with double-digit point totals. Nate Gilcris led the team with seven rebounds and added six points in the contest for a career-high in each category. Joshua Watts added a team-high six assists.
Keene State's Ty Nichols led all scorers with 24 points as he went 9-of-18 from the floor while knocking down each of his four free throw attempts. He dished out seven assists and added four rebounds in the contest for the Owls. Paul Mahon added 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting with five assists, while Edwin Ezedonmwen chipped in with 13 points and James Anozie added 12.
The Spartans led early, carrying a 14-11 lead midway through the opening half after Belade knocked down a jumper following an Owl turnover. Keene State answered with a 6-0 run, taking the lead for good in the contest at 17-14. The Owls pushed the lead to nine points headed into the halftime break, 33-24, as Nichols finished the half with a dunk following a steal.
Keene State extended its lead to a game-high 21 points after a 9-0 run midway through the half, making it 64-43. Castleton battled back to narrow the gap to 11 points, but the Owls again surged ahead by 21, 81-60, with four minutes to play. Castleton closed out the contest with a 10-2 run, but it was too little, too late as the Owls held on for the 83-70 victory.
Castleton returns to action on Saturday with a home game at Glenbrook Gym against UMass-Dartmouth. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.