Spartans upset No. 9 WPI, 77-65
No. 9 WPI, 77-65
CASTLETON — The Castleton Spartans received some fortunate bounces but also locked down on defense as they upset ninth-ranked WPI with a total team effort on Saturday afternoon in Glenbrook Gym.
Clinging to a 69-63 lead with just 46 seconds left, senior Logan White banked a three from way downtown with a defender in his face just as the shot clock was set to expire. Castleton then held WPI to just one shot attempt and two free throws over the final 40 seconds, while going 5-for-6 from the charity stripe themselves, to earn the win.
The victory is the first over a ranked team in program history, though it wasn’t a fluke as the Spartans’ lead didn’t drop below four over the 25 minutes of action. WPI falls to 3-1 on the year while Castleton improves to 1-1 overall.
The Spartan defense held the Engineers to just 36.7 percent shooting in the contest and 5-for-19 from beyond the arc. Conversely, Castleton made 7 of 15 from downtown and shot 50.8 percent from the floor. The Spartans also forced 18 turnovers and matched WPI on the boards with 38 apiece.
All five starters scored in double figures for Castleton, led by Carnelius Green with 20. The junior added nine rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals in 34 minutes. White finished with 17 points and eight rebounds while Chad Copeland contributed his second straight double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Tyler Ackley had a team-high seven assists to go with 13 points and Steve Rosemond added 12 points.
Senior Ryan Kolb led WPI with 18 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Zach Karalis was also in double figures with 14 points, including four threes, and Sam Longwell added 12 points but shot just 6-for-17 from the floor. Aaron Davis was solid with eight points, eight assists and three steals.
Castleton jumped out to a 9-2 lead over the first four minutes of action, however, ten straight by the Engineers put them in front 12-9 at 12:08. The Spartans countered with six consecutive points to pull in front 15-12 and they eventually extended their lead to 21-14 on back-to-back triples from Rosemond and White.
A 7-2 run brought WPI within two, 23-21, but seven straight points by Castleton pushed the lead to 30-12 with 4:37 remaining. The Spartans extended their advantage to 34-25 with two minutes left, but four Engineer free throws made it a 34-29 game at the break.
Green opened up the scoring 55 seconds into the second half and Rosemond followed with a layup to extend the lead to 38-29 at 18:52. Kolb eventually went on a person 4-2 run to cut the deficit to 43-35 with 17:23 left. However, the Spartan defense held WPI scoreless over the next four minutes while pouring in 10 points to extend their lead to 53-35 with 13:12 remaining.
The Engineers regrouped and eventually pulled back within single digits as back-to-back layups by Longwell made it 59-50 with 7:44 left. Ackley countered with a three from the corner and Green made a spinning layup to extend the lead to 64-50. WPI countered with a 9-2 run to close the gap to 66-59 at 5:05.
Copeland ended a two-minute scoring drought for both teams at 3:04, though the Engineers took advantage of two turnovers to cut the deficit to 68-63 with 1:50 left. Just 13 seconds later Ackley was hit going to the hoop and hit one of two free throws for the six-point lead.
WPI missed its next shot and Copeland corralled the rebound in traffic with 1:25 left and his team leading by six. Following a timeout, the Spartans worked the clock before White’s buzzer-beater made it 72-63 with just 46 seconds in the game.
Castleton finished with 18 turnovers, but did dish off 13 assists and record eight steals.
The Spartans return to action on Tuesday when they travel to face Plymouth State at 7:30 p.m.