CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University men's basketball team suffered its first Little East Conference loss on Wednesday night, falling to Plymouth State by a final score of 87-76 at Glenbrook Gymnasium.
The Spartans (3-3, 0-1 LEC) were led offensively by a big day from Tank Roberson as the senior guard dropped 27 points and eight assists, while Michael Morgan tallied a career-high 13 points on 3-of-4 shooting from long range and 4-for-4 at the free-throw line. Richard Walker added 10 points and eight boards for Castleton, leading the way on the glass.
Jaylen LeRoy posted a team-high 23 points for Plymouth State (4-3, 1-0 LEC) to hit the 1,000-point mark for his career, adding eight rebounds and two assists. Joe Simpson and Manny Alisandro added 14 points apiece for the Panthers, while Dante Rivera had 12 points and seven helpers. Manny Sanchez rounded out Plymouth's five double-digit scorers with 10 points off the bench.
Plymouth State outshot Caslteton 45.6 percent (26-for-57) to 39.4 percent (26-for-66) from the floor, while the Panthers converted on 28-of-35 chances from the free-throw line. PSU also won the rebounding battle, 42-33, while the Spartans turned it over just nine times to Plymouth's 12.
The two sides battled closely out of the gates, as the two teams were separated by just one point at the 12-minute media timeout. Plymouth began to pull away at that point, going on a 17-5 run over the next seven-plus minutes to push the lead to 35-22 with less than five to play in the opening half. The Panthers ended the half strong, taking a 45-29 lead into the locker room.
Castleton upped the pressure in the second half, coming out of the break with a full-court pressure that disrupted the Plymouth offense. Castleton outscored the Panthers 19-7 over the opening seven minutes of the second half, closing the gap to just four points, 52-48. The gap was closed to just three points with 12 minutes to play when Casey Belade buried a three to make it 55-52 in favor of the visitors.
Three points was as close as Castleton could get, as Plymouth began pulling away at that point with a 9-1 run to push its lead back to 11 points. The two sides traded a plethora of fouls in the second half, as the two sides combined for 37 fouls in the final 20 minutes and both teams shot in the double bonus for the final 10-plus minutes of action. The Panthers took advantage of the free throw chances, making 25-of-31 in the second half to pull away for an 87-76 win.
Castleton returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Southern Maine at Glenbrook Gym. Tip-off is slated for 3 p.m.