BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The Castleton University men's basketball team bounced back from its Friday-night loss with a 73-65 victory on Saturday afternoon, downing host Bridgewater State University in the consolation game of The Cave Classic at the Tinsley Center.
In a game that saw three ties and seven lead changes, Castleton (2-1) outshot the Bears (0-3) 45.9 percent to 39.1 percent, making 28-of-61 field goal attempts on the day. The Spartans were also 11-of-26 from three-point land, good for a 42.3 percent rate. The rebounding battle was nearly even, with BSU holding a 39-34 edge, while Castleton turned it over only 11 times to the Bears' 14 turnovers.
Eric Shaw had a team-high 18 points in 25 minutes off the bench, going 5-of-10 from the floor with a 4-for-9 mark from long range and a 4-for-4 mark at the free-throw line. Tank Roberson went for 15 points, eight assists and five rebounds for the Spartans, while Richard Walker and Ben Mrowka reached double digits with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Mrowka's seven boards were a team-high, while Walker contributed five rebounds on the defensive end of the floor.
Bridgewater State's Ryan Carney matched Shaw's 18 points to tie for a game-high while grabbing eight rebounds, and Rayshon Ward finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 11 points and nine boards. Nick Crocker added 10 points for the hosts while Jonathan Mercado had eight points on 3-of-4 shooting.
Bridgewater State jumped out to an early lead, going up 5-0 in the first 90 seconds of action. They pushed the lead to six points with a triple by Carney before the two sides traded baskets. Castleton followed the back-and-forth action with a 9-0 run on a trio of threes—two from Shaw and one from Mrowka—to take a 15-12 lead with 11:37 to play in the half. The lead was short-lived, as the Bears regained control with a three from Admar Jaramillo with nine minutes to play in the stanza to go up 18-17.
The two teams traded blows until the seven-minute mark, when Bridgewater State went on a run that pushed its edge to eight points, 30-22. The Spartans rattled off a 14-0 run over the ensuing three-plus minutes, sparked by a three-ball from Roberson and capped with a pair of free throws by Shaw, to take a 36-30 lead. A layup from the Bears with 1:32 to play in the half was the last of the scoring, as Castleton took a four-point edge into the break.
The lead was quickly halved right out of the locker room, as Carney drove for a layup on BSU's first possession to make it 36-34. The Bears hung tight through throughout the beginning of the second half, keeping the gap at just three points with less than 10 minutes to play in the contest. Castleton began to pull away after the midway point of the second half, pushing the lead up to nine points on a triple from Shaw with 6:37 to play to give the Spartans their largest lead of the contest. A layup from Carney with just 35 seconds to play cut the Castleton edge to just four points, but the Spartans put the game on ice with a 4-for-4 performance at the free-throw line in the waning seconds to hold on for the 73-65 victory.
The Spartans take to the court next Saturday, Nov. 24, to face Westfield State in the opening round of the Sig Makofski Invitational hosted by Union College. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m.