Levi Barnes scored 16 of his game-high 26 points to lead the Thomas Terriers past the Castleton Spartans, 83-65, in a North Atlantic Conference men’s basketball quarterfinal matchup late last month.
Adam Carlsen picked up 14 points, all in the first half, to help the Terriers jump out to a commanding first-half lead, 47-29, including an 18-0 run late in the period. Dayne Savage came off the bench for Thomas and scored 14 points.
Castleton responded in the second half, chipping away at Thomas’ lead. The Spartans pulled within six, 57-51, after back-to-back 3-pointers from Casey McGraw with just under 10 minutes left to play in the game. McGraw finished with a team-high 17 points and went an impressive 5-6 from behind the arc, but the Spartans couldn’t pull off the upset.
Two other Spartans finished in double figures. Tondi Mushandu scored 11 points while Edmund Fitzgerald came off the bench to net 12.
Castleton finished its season at 9-17. Thomas advanced to the semifinal round and fell to Husson, 91-76, finishing their season at 14-13.
The Spartans struggled this season after star-forward Chad Copeland was sidelined with a knee injury.
Spartan Head Coach Paul Culpo put the blame on himself for the sub-par season and not the team’s injuries.
“I think every team has injuries and I don’t feel it’s an excuse,” he said.
The Spartans relied on underclassmen Tyler Arsenault and Fitzgerald to move into key roles, but Arsenault was limited, nursing a foot injury from early in the year.
Senior Casey McGraw said despite the disappointing season, he thought the team had a lot of potential in their young players, enough to make a late season push for the NAC title.
“While our record said 9-17, I think we still had a chance at winning it,” McGraw said.
Culpo said it was an unsuccessful season and things needed to get better if they are going to improve next season.
“At the end of the day, we didn’t get the job done. We lost a lot of games… and the only way to change that is to work hard,” Culpo said.
Castleton loses four seniors including Rob Coloutti and McGraw. Coloutti reached 1,000 career points in his four years with the Spartans.
Copeland, also a senior, chose to redshirt the 2015-16 because of his injury and therefore is eligible to play next season. Additional seniors include Paolo Loli and Joshua Horton.
“All are terrific kids and are going to go on and do great things,” Culpo said.