CASTLETON, Vt. – Green Mountain College almost squandered a 15-point lead, but saved face in the second half of Saturday's game by scoring the final four points of the contest to end the season with a victory and defeat Castleton University, 68-64, in a North Atlantic Conference (NAC) men's basketball game at Glenbrook Gym.
Green Mountain improved its season-ending record to 8-16 overall and 6-12 within the NAC. Castleton, now 12-13 overall, qualified for the NAC Men's Basketball Tournament as the sixth seed with a 9-9 league mark.
Green Mountain opened a 10-2 lead, punctuated by a steal and a dunk from Matt Hess (Rising Sun, Md.), and then extended that advantage to 20-7 halfway through the first half on a three-pointer by Alex Sanchez (San Fernando Valley, Calif.). Still behind by 13 late in the first half after a rebound and putback by Oluwadare Sowunmi (Harlem, N.Y.), the Spartans closed the deficit to 10 at halftime, 33-23, with three-straight points by Jordan Nelson.
Three-pointers by Christian Przybyla (Clifton, N.J.) and Duane Goodman Jr. (Charlotte, N.C.) increased the Eagle advantage to 43-28 with 14:35 left in the second half. Castleton started working its way back with six-straight points before three-pointers by Goodman and Przybyla gave the Eagles a 49-36 lead with 12:06 left on the clock.
Once again down by 15 after a layup by De Shaun Carr (Morena Valley, Calif.), Castleton put together a 12-1 scoring run over a short two-minute span, capped by a three-pointer from Pavin Parrish, to close to within four at 52-48. A traditional three-point play by Hess extended the Eagle lead back to seven, but five-straight points by Nelson brought the Spartans within two at 55-53 with 7:35 left in regulation.
Twice Green Mountain increased its lead back to a two-possession game, but both times it was cut down by three-pointers from Denis LeCours. Nelson made a free throw with 1:58 remaining in the second half to tie the game at 64-64, but Tyrell Johnson (Bronx, N.Y.) responded on Green Mountain's next possession with a successful jump shot to put the Eagles back on top, 66-64.
Each team failed to score on its next possession, and Castleton used a timeout with 30 seconds left in regulation. However, the Spartans committed a turnover, Carr made two free throws after being fouled, and Castleton's final chance to stay in the game ended with a missed three-point field goal attempt with three seconds left, time which the Eagles ran out.
Goodman Jr. shot 7-of-14 from the field, including 5-of-9 from behind the three-point line, as he led all players with a season-high 21 points, plus he grabbed a season-best eight rebounds and dished out two assists. Johnson had his best game of the season as he contributed season highs across the board with 12 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Hess ended up with seven points along with a game-high 10 rebounds.
As a team, Green Mountain shot 43.1 percent (25-of-58) from the field, including 8-of-23 from behind the three-point line, and 66.7 percent (10-of-15) from the free throw line. The Eagles dominated the rebounding battle, 43-28, but committed 15 turnovers that led to 13 Castleton points.
With the Eagles closing out their season with today's finale, here's a look at the team's season leaders in a bevy of different categories.
|Category||Leader (Total)||Conference Rank|
|Minutes Played||Duane Goodman, Jr. (656)|
Duane Goodman, Jr. (239)
|Shooting||Matt Hess (47.0%)|
|3-PT Made||Alex Sanchez (32)|
|3-PT Shooting||Alex Sanchez (35.2%)|
|FT Made||De Shaun Carr (68)||Ranks 8th overall in NAC|
|FT Shooting||Duane Goodman, Jr. (82.5%)|
|Rebounds||Matt Hess (204)||Ranks 4th overall in NAC|
|Assists||De Shaun Carr (48)|
|Steals||Sean Leflore (27)|
|Blocks||De Shaun Carr (18)||Ranks 9th overall in NAC|