Spartan Men’s Hoop Wins Second Straight Nailbiter

Spartan Men’s Hoop Wins Second Straight Nailbiter

NASHUA, N.H. – In a game that saw six ties and 14 lead changes, Castleton University was able to hang on for the second consecutive game, defeating Rivier University, 64-63, Tuesday night in a non-conference men's collegiate basketball game at Muldoon Gymnasium.

Julian Santos led the Spartans in scoring with 12 points, while Tyler Arsenault earned his second straight double-digit scoring game with 10 points. Josh Hanson contributed a career-high nine points and four rebounds, and Tondi Mushandu pulled down 10 rebounds as Castleton controlled the boards, 38-25.

Castleton scored the first five points of the game and eventually extended its lead to 16-8 on back-to-back baskets by Hanson. Rivier hit three straight three-pointers, two of them by Issaiah Chappelle, to take the lead at 17-16 midway through the first half. The teams traded baskets the rest of the first half until a jumper by Richard Walker gave Castleton a 33-30 halftime advantage.

Denis LeCours opened the second half with a three-pointer, and the Spartans were able to keep the Raiders at arm's length for a while, as a three-pointer by Walker and two free throws from Arsenault extended the Castleton lead to 49-43 with 8:46 remaining in the second half.

Rivier (1-11) battled back, as Chappelle hit two three-pointers and converted a traditional three-point play to give the Raiders a 52-49 tie with 6:24 left in regulation. Santos hit a three-pointer to put Castleton back on top, but Tyler Bradanese answered with a traditional three-point play as Rivier regained the lead, 55-54.

Jordan Nelson made two free throws to put the Spartans ahead once again, and a rebound and putback from Mushandu extended that lead to 58-55. Chappelle hit a jumper to tie the game at 59-59, but two free throws by Arsenault, a key defensive rebound by Mushandu, and one free throw from Nelson gave Castleton a 62-59 lead with 26 seconds remaining on the clock.

On Rivier's next possession, Chappelle made two free throws, but Santos answered with two made free throws of his own. The Raiders raced the ball up the court looking for a tying three-pointer, and Tristian Givens was fouled attempting a long-distance shot. After making the first two free throws, he missed the third attempt, and Arsenault grabbed the rebound as time ran out.

Chappelle shot 7-of-9 from the field, including 4-of-6 from behind the three-point line, and 5-of-5 from the free throw line to finish with a game-high 23 points, while Joshua O'Loughlin hit three three-pointers on his way to a 12-point performance. As a team, Rivier shot 46.7 percent (21-of-45) from the field, including 10-of-29 from behind the three-point line, and 73.3 percent (11-of-15) from the free throw line.

The Spartans shot 41.2 percent (21-of-51) from the field, including 7-of-23 from behind the three-point line, and 65.2 percent (15-of-23) from the free throw line. Castleton scored 16 second-chance points off 16 offensive rebounds and committed just 12 turnovers, its second-lowest total of the season, for the second straight game.

Castleton (6-7) returns to North Atlantic Conference play, hosting Johnson State Saturday, Jan. 13, starting at 3 p.m. at Glenbrook Gym.