CASTLETON, Vt. – The Southern Vermont College men's basketball team made it into triple figures for the first time this season on Saturday as the visiting Mountaineers secured a 101-84 non-conference victory over Castleton University at Glenbrook Gym.
It was a tight score through the opening 13 minutes of play as neither side could sustain a lead; Castleton found itself up by one with 7:01 to go in the first half, but that would be the hosts' last lead of the game as the Mountaineers outscored their opponent 25-12 to close out the period and go into the locker room on top 50-39.
SVC would go up by as many as 24 in the second frame, and the visitors' solid performance at the free throw line helped hold off a late CU push for Southern Vermont to close out the inner-state victory. All 11 Mountaineers who were active for the contest made their way onto the scoring sheet with six reaching double digits.
The win sees SVC start the year at 4-0 and gives Southern Vermont four wins in its last five meetings with the Spartans dating back to the 2010-11 season. The Mountaineers are now off until next Saturday, December 2 when they host Pine Manor College for a 1 p.m. non-conference tilt.
Southern Vermont sophomore Tyler McLeod (Auburn, N.Y.) came off the bench to rack up a game-high 18 points while adding four rebounds and three assists to his line. Senior Claude Payne (South Plainfield, N.J.) followed with 17 points and six rebounds as junior Andre Hodo (Rockville, Md.) pulled down a game-best seven boards to go along with his 15 points.
Senior Mike Pierre (Melrose, N.Y.) and junior Kyle Depollar (Rockville, Md.) each recorded 13 points for SVC, and senior Daemond Carter (Forestville, Md.) notched 12 points, six rebounds, five assists, and four steals in the win.
The Mountaineers went 31-60 to shoot over 50 percent from the floor (51.7) for the first time this year while Castleton connected on 29-67 (43.3 percent) of its field goal attempts. While CU hit 11 3-pointers to SVC's five, Southern Vermont tallied a 46-32 upper hand in points from the paint.
The visitors also used their inside presence to stake a staggering 45-22 advantage in free throw attempts—knocking down 34 (75.6 percent) of those with 23 converted freebies coming in the second half. SVC had a 44-31 edge in rebounds and used its strong transition offense to score 16 fast-break points to the Spartans' two.
Castleton used some success from the outside to keep things close in the opening 10 minutes as the Spartans' fourth triple of the game tied it at 19-19 with 10:50 left to go in the first half. SVC would force seven CU turnovers through the rest of the period, however, and used quick transitions to gain some breathing room.
Two of those fast-break points included a great play that saw Hodo make a steal and find McLeod down the floor with the latter then tossing an alley-oop to Payne to make it a 29-27 Southern Vermont edge. That flush was part of a 16-3 Mountaineer run which included seven points from Payne and a trey from Hodo. Castleton dropped its sixth 3-pointer of the half with 1:17 on the clock, but Carter hit one of his own with 27 seconds left for his team to take an 11-point lead into the break.
SVC kept its foot on the pedal once play resumed—extending its lead to as many as 24 through the opening 10 minutes of the second half. Castleton found itself in foul trouble quickly as the Mountaineers' aggressive drives to the basket allowed them to get in the single bonus with 14:47 still to go; Southern Vermont was 23-31 from the charity stripe in the period with 13 of those converted free throws coming before the 10:00 mark.
The Spartans didn't go quietly and chipped away at their deficit over the next six minutes—eventually making it just an 87-77 SVC advantage with 4:10 left in regulation. That would be the closest Castleton would get, however, as a McLeod old-fashioned 3-point play sparked a 10-0 Mountaineer run which put the game out of reach for CU.
– #LetsGoSVC –