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Castleton Spartans

Castleton Men’s Hoop Falls to Skidmore in Season Opener

Castleton Men’s Hoop Falls to Skidmore in Season Opener

CASTLETON, Vt. – Castleton University continually put pressure on Skidmore College Wednesday night, but the Thoroughbreds put together a run early in the second half on their way to an 89-79 victory over the Spartans in a non-conference men's collegiate basketball game at Glenbrook Gym.

In front of a packed house, Jordan Nelson led the Spartans with 13 points, nine assists, four rebounds, and two steals. Pavin Parrish scored 12 points, Ben Mrowka hit three three-pointers for nine points, and Tondi Mushandu contributed eight points, six rebounds, and three assists.

With Skidmore ahead at halftime, 46-45, the lead went back-and-forth in the first three minutes of the second half, with Michael Morgan hitting a three-pointer to give Castleton a 53-50 advantage. Skidmore would respond with a 13-0 scoring run over the next three-and-a-half minutes to pull ahead, 63-53, with 13:25 remaining in the second half.

Down 76-69 later in the half, the Spartans closed to within two on a three-pointer by Julian Santos and two free throws from Parrish, but the Castleton offense would go cold while Skidmore made enough free throws to hold off the Spartan comeback.  

After shooting 53.3 percent (16-of-30) in the first half, Castleton hit just 27.9 percent (12-of-43) in the second half, including 5-of-24 attempts from behind the three-point line. Meanwhile, Skidmore shot 56.7 percent (17-of-30) from the field in the first half and 65.2 percent (15-of-23) from the floor after halftime, taking advantage of its opportunities in the post as the Thoroughbreds outscored the Spartans in the paint, 48-30.

Skidmore (1-0) received double-doubles from both Dakpe Yiljep, who shot 10-of-13 from the field for 23 points and 11 rebounds, and Edvinas Rupkus, who hit 7-of-10 shots from the floor for 19 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists. Pat Gallagher came off the bench and hit 6-of-7 shots for 13 points, and Noah Meren contributed 11 points for Skidmore.

Castleton did force Skidmore into 22 turnovers, scoring 27 points off those mistakes, plus the Spartans pulled down 17 offensive rebounds for 16 second-chance points. However, the Thoroughbreds won the overall rebounding battle, 44-30, and hit 67.7 percent of their free throw attempts (21-of-31) to defeat the Spartans for the eighth straight time.

Castleton (0-1) heads to Dartmouth, Mass., for the Hampton Inn Classic this weekend, first taking on Curry College Friday, Nov. 17, at 5:30 p.m. Depending on the result, the Spartans will face either host UMass-Dartmouth or Elms Saturday, Nov. 18, at either 5 p.m. or 7 p.m.