The Men’s basketball team traveled to Amherst, Mass. this past weekend for the annual Ken Wright Memorial Tournament. The Spartans went 1-1 on the weekend finishing the opening week of their season 2-1 overall. Castleton went into the tournament 1-0 after defeating Springfield College 72-59 on Nov. 15. In the first round of the tournament on Nov. 19 Castleton faced Well’s College.
Although Well’s out-rebounded Castleton 44-30 the Spartans grabbed 14 steals and caused a total of 27 turnovers that turned into 27 points. Castleton would then go on a 9-0 run with just under nine minutes in regulation to put the Spartans up by 10 points. The Spartans lead never went below eight points for the remainder of the contest letting Castleton pull away with a 66-57 win.
Castleton advanced to the championship round the next day against the host team Amherst College. The Spartans started out strong with a 5-0 lead, but Amherst would quickly answer back scoring a three-pointer just eight minutes into the half to take the lead. Amherst would never surrender the lead for the remainder of the game.
After giving up 89 points to Maine Farmington in its previous night’s win, Amherst picked up its defensive intensity holding Castleton to 34 points causing the Spartans to shoot only 30 percent from the floor. But Castleton also played respectable defense holding Amherst to 56 points. But it wasn’t enough for the Spartans as they fell 56-34.
Senior Mike Knight and freshmen Matt Cooney both had a team-high seven points, while junior Greg Hughes chipped in six. Knight and Junior Jared Paul were also both named to the All-Tournament team.
Head coach Paul Culpo was pleased with his team’s efforts, but said his team was simply overmatched.
“At the end of the day, they’re a better team than we are across the board,” said Culpo. “You got to give them credit they did a lot better job of shutting us down than we did of them.”
Culpo was glad his team got to play Amherst. He said when he scheduled this tournament he had hoped they would get a chance to play them.
“It’s a good experience for our kids to see what’s out there,” he said.
Culpo said he hopes his team will aspire to get to that level.
He said the Spartans have a lot of work to do, but he said he won’t dwell on this loss.
“On to the next one,” Culpo said.