Castleton, Vt. - November 15, 2010 - Darvis Rankins and Matt Cavalieri combined for 33 points but it wasn't enough as the Springfield College men's basketball team dropped its season opener at Castleton State, 72-59, on Monday evening in a non-conference clash.
Mike Knight led a trio of Spartans in double-figures with a game-high 19 points to lead the hosts to its first win in a season-opener since the 1999 campaign.
Castleton trailed 17-9 after a Rankins three-pointer with 12:22 remaining in the first half, but used a 13-4 run over the next seven minutes to take its first lead of the game at 22-21 on a Greg Hughes lay-up. Cavalieri quickly put the Pride back on top with a three-pointer to make it 24-22, but the Spartans ended the half on a 14-2 run to take a 36-26 lead into the interval and never trailed again. Hughes had five points during the surge and ended the half with a dozen.
A Jared Paul lay-up five minutes into the second half pushed the Spartan lead to 45-30, but Springfield answered with an 8-0 run over the next three minutes and 40 seconds to slice the deficit to seven. Castleton was able to respond once again, this time with an 11-0 spurt, keyed by four points from Paul and a three-pointer from freshman Tyler Ackley.
The Pride would get no closer than nine the rest of the way as it fell in its first contest of the year. Springfield, which a year ago was one of the top defensive teams in the country, allowed the hosts to shoot 51% (25-for-51) from the field. In 27 games last year, only twice did Springfield allow a team to shoot over 50% from the floor. Trevor DiMicco added seven points and eight rebounds, while Billy Harkins posted seven points and three helpers in the loss.
Paul followed Knight in the scoring column with 18 and Hughes ended the evening with 15. The Spartans limited the Pride to just 34% (21-for-61).
Springfield will continue its season on the road on Friday evening when it takes on Bowdoin at 8:00 pm in the Roger Williams Invitational.