Men's Basketball Falls Short in ECAC Quarterfials

Men's Basketball Falls Short in ECAC Quarterfials

CASTLETON, Vt. – Senior Dammy Mustapha elevated over the defense to tip in a layup with just 4.8 seconds remaining to give Castleton an 80-79 lead, which proved to be the difference as a last-second shot by Wentworth went long and Castleton held on for the one-point victory in Glenbrook Gym on Wednesday night.
 
The Spartans trailed most of the second half and found themselves with the ball and down 77-76 with less than a minute to play. They got the ball inside to senior Mark Comstock. He took it on the right block, spun baseline and used his shoulder to create some room before lofting a shot into the net with just 30 seconds left for the one-point Castleton lead.
 
Now behind by one, Wentworth worked the clock down and moved the ball around until Dailon Wilson (Houston, Texas) found Nico Donato (Glastonbury, Conn.) on the block for a layup with just 12 seconds remaining. Tyler Ackley received the inbound pass and sprinted by his man and down the left side of the lane before attempting a layup. The ball bounced off the rim, but Mustapha elevated over everyone in the lane and was able to tap it in with his right hand to give the Spartans an 80-79 lead with 4.8 seconds left.
 
Wentworth tried an inbounds pass to the opposite foul line and Comstock knocked it out of bounds, leaving 2.6 seconds the clock. On the Leopards final play, Derek Mayo's (Casco, Maine) shot from the right corner bounced away as Castleton held on.
 
The win is the first-ever in ECAC Tournament play for the fourth seeded Spartans as they improved to 17-12 with the victory. No. 5 seed Wentworth saw its season come to a close with a 16-12 overall mark.
 
Comstock led the Castleton offense with 21 points, five rebounds and three steals, and was one of four players in double figures. Mustapha finished with 14 off the bench and seven boards, six on the offensive end. Logan White added 12 points while Ackley finished with 10 points and dished off eight assists.
 
Mayo was the Leopards top player on the evening, with 19 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. John-Michael Fragnoli (Scotia, N.Y.) chipped in with 13 points and four rebounds before fouling out while Wilson (12), Donato (12) and Senior Colin Johnson (El Dorado Hills, Calif.), who scored 10, all reached double figures.
 
Castleton opened up the game on a 13-6 run over the game's first five minutes and stretched it as high as nine, 18-9, on a three from Casey McGraw with 13:48 left in the half. The teams traded baskets until a 5-0 run put the Spartans in front 29-17 at 7:41.
 
Donato and Wilson drilled back-to-back threes to cut the lead to six and Wentworth made it a four-point game on a layup by Fragnoli with 2:54 left. Castleton countered with five straight, but an 11-3 run by the Leopards tied the game with less than a minute in the half. Comstock missed a layup with just seconds left in the half but White tipped it in at the buzzer for the two-point lead, 40-38.
 
The Spartans scored the first two buckets of the second, but an 11-4 run by Wentworth made it 49-48 with 16:04 left. Comstock responded with a layup but the Leopards countered and used consecutive triples to take a 58-52 lead with 11:50 remaining.
 
Wentworth maintained its lead over the next six minutes, until an old fashioned three-point play by Mustapha tied the game, 71-71, with 5:19 left. The Leopards pushed their lead to four, but the Spartans fought back and backdoor layup by White make it 77-76 with 2:19, setting up the last-minute drama.
 
The Spartans now advance to Saturday's semifinals, where they will face top seeded Westfield St.

(Recap Courtesy of Castleton Sports Information)