The Castleton men’s basketball team appeared to be trending upward after winning eight of their first 10 games after the holiday break, but they have since cooled off losing three of their last four, including two games this past weekend.
The Spartans traveled to Maine and fell to the Thomas College Terriers 79-67 on Friday Feb. 9, and to the Maine Farmington Beavers 94-89 on Saturday Feb. 10.
Tondi Mushandu led the Spartans with a team high 19 points and nine rebounds against the Terriers, while Julian Santos led the Spartans with 24 points off the bench against the Beavers.
Although these two Maine teams don’t exactly have the most terrifying mascots, they each made up for it by playing dominant basketball for 40 minutes.
To be fair, Castleton led most of the first half Friday against Thomas, but the Terriers got hot and went on a run two minutes before the break, leading 33-36 at the half.
In fact, Castleton has trailed at the half in all but two of the games they’ve lost this season. The Spartans trailed by 7 at the half the last time they squared up against Thomas College, but were able to pull the win out.
Unfortunately, this time around was a different story.
“This weekend specifically, I think our defense just wasn’t good enough,” freshman guard Skyler Boyd said. “We’ve been stressing it a lot the second half of this season and it just seemed like we struggled to get stops when we needed them most.”
This road trip couldn’t have been easy for the Spartans to swallow, especially considering they defeated both these teams at home less than a month ago.
“I think there’s always a home court factor when playing any team. Less fans rooting for you, different atmosphere, stuff like that. It’s tough, but we can’t blame losing on that,” Boyd said. “I think both teams had definitely improved since the first time we saw them, which is expected, but we improved too. We just didn’t match the intensity they played with.”
It also doesn’t help that the Spartans were fresh off losing a close game at home to the Colby Sawyer Chargers 70-73 on Tuesday Feb. 6. Their record now sits at an even 12-12, with just one game left on their schedule and one last chance to finish above .500.
In their final game, the Spartans will face the Green Mountain Eagles, a team they already defeated earlier in the season, at home on 3 p.m. Saturday Feb. 17.