Men fall in fight for NAC top seed

The Castleton State College men’s basketball team lost a 76-70 heartbreaker to Maine-Farmington in a battle for the number one spot in the North Atlantic Conference on Feb. 13. Since the Spartans beat Thomas on Feb. 12, extending their winning streak to four games in a row, and the Beavers lost to Green Mountain on the same day, Castleton knew this match up would determine who had the advantage for the number one seed in the NAC standings.

After an emotional senior night presentation that saw Zach Briggs and manager Chris LaPointe being honored, Castleton came onto the court strong, holding Farmington to a mere 37 percent while shooting from the field in the first half.

The Spartan shooters on the other hand were able to hit key shots when they needed to, making sure to keep the Beavers from pulling away with the game. Jared Paul was one of the Spartans making such shots. His most memorable may have been the 3-pointer he let fly with barely any time left on the shot clock to tie the game up going into the half.

The Spartans kept it close throughout the second half until the last four minutes of the game. At that point, the Beavers went on a 12-4 run led by Andrew Dean, who went 10-for-10 on the free throw line to clinch the win.

Dean led the Beavers with 19 points while teammates Josh Tanguay and Eric Lelansky added 14 and 13 respectively.

Castleton had three players in double figures for the game. Derick Faragon led all scorers with 22 points while Mike Knight netted 16, going 7-for-8 from the field, and Paul snuck in 12.

“It is always disappointing when you don’t win,” coach Paul Culpo said. “To be honest, I feel like the win against Thomas was more important because it separated us from them. Now there is a gap between second and third place in the NAC.”

With the end of the regular season just a week away, Castleton is looking to secure the second seed for the playoffs and receive an automatic advance to the semifinals.

“We are having a good year,” Culpo said. “When you step back and look at the big picture, we just have to stay in there and worry about what is in front of us.”

With the loss to Farmington, Castleton moves to 15-8 on the season and 9-3 in conference play. The Spartans will head up to Maine for a rematch against Maine Maritime Academy on Feb 19. A win will guarantee at least the second seed for the Spartans. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m.

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