Lyndonville, VT - The Lyndon State College men's basketball team came up a point short on Saturday afternoon, dropping a 56-55 decision to Castleton University in Stannard Gymnasium. Castleton improves to 5-7 overall and 3-3 in North Atlantic Conference play, wile Lyndon falls to 1-9 and 1-4 in the NAC.
Castleton's Tyler Arsenault (East Granby, CT) opened the game by scoring inside to put the Spartans ahead. Zach Knowlton (Franconia, NH) answered with a three pointer for the Hornets on their first possession. Following another Arsenault post finish and a layup from Pavin Parrish (Rochester, VT), Jahleel Gabriel (Springfield, MA) connected on another three to tie things at 6-6. After the teams exchanged several scores, Tondi Mushandu (Zimbabwe) converted inside to give Castleton a 14-10 advantage.
With Castleton holding a 15-12 advantage, the Hornets went on a 9-2 run of their own, capped by a Kendrick Mills (Bellows Falls, VT) three-pointer, to take a 21-17 lead. Castleton answered with the next nine points, and when Arsenault sank the second of two free throws, the Spartans were up five at 26-21 with 7:45 to go in the opening half.
Folloowing a layup by Ricky Shuford (Prattville, AL), Knowlton knocked down another three ball to tie things up at 26-26 with 6:50 remaining in the half. Castleton's Jordan Nelson (Troy, NY) made the second of two free throws to give Castleton the lead back, but Gerald Fleming connected on a jumper off of a feed from Knowlton to give Lyndon a lead that they would hold for the rest of the half. The Hornets headed to intermission with a 33-31 advantage.
Darren Williams Jr. (Wiesbaden, Germany) converted a layup and a pair of free throws to open the second half, as Lyndon found itself with a 37-31 lead almost three minutes in. Mushandu was able to convert inside for Castleton, then Arsenault scored twice, and the game was tied again at 37-37 with 14:46 remaining. Williams answered with a jumper, and Robbie Rouelle (St. Johnsbury, VT) knocked down a three-pointer to put the Hornets back up five, 42-37, with 13:27 to go.
Castleton responded by scoring the next seven points of the contest, as a three from Denis Lecours (Hardwick, VT) tied things, then a steal and layup by Parrish gave Castletonm its first lead of the second half, 44-42, with 12:16 to go.
Following a timeout, Corey Frost (Hamden, CT) knocked down a three to put Lyndon back in front. After a pair of field goals from Shuford, Lyndon led 49-44 with 8:27 remaining. Unfortunately for the Hornets, those would be the final points that they scored until the game's final minute. Over the cold stretch the Hornets turned the ball over six times and missed eight consecutive shots. Meanwhile, the Spartans were able to take advantage of the miscues, and turned the five point deficit into a seven point lead, 56-49, with 1:23 to go.
Knowlton finally broke the drought, as he connected on a three-pointer to bring the Hornets within four, 56-52, with 21 seconds to go. Lyndon then forced a tieup on the ensuing inbounds, and gained posession with the arrow. A three-pointer from Williams made it a one-point game, 56-55, with nine seconds to go. Following a Lyndon timeout, the Hornets nearly forced another turnover, but Castleton called timeout just before committing a five-second violation. This time, the Spartans were able to get the ball in, and Lyndon was forced to foul with four seconds to go. The Spartans missed both free throws. However Lyndon was unable to get a potential game winning shot off before time expired, and Castleton escaped with the win.
Both teams struggled to score throughout the contest and finished well below their season scoring averages. The result was a very closely contested game where neither team was able to gain any significant separation. There were seven ties and 12 lead changes. Castleton converted 21 of 62 shots (33.9%), while Lyndon only made 20 of 61 attempts (32.8%). The Spartans made 10 of 21 free throw attempts, while the Hornets made six of eight. Lyndon owned a 50-39 rebounding advantage, but committed 23 turnovers, 17 in the second half, compared to only 12 for Castleton.
Arsenalut was the only double figure scorer for Castleton with 12 points. Mushandu added eight points and seven rebounds and Parrish also scored eight points. Williams notched a double for the Hornets with 14 points and ten rebounds, while Gabriel pulled down a game high 15 rebounds.
Lyndon returns to the court on Tuesday when they host Johnson State College in a 7:30 pm NAC contest. Castleton travels to Rivier College for a non-conference affair on Tuesday.