NAC Semifinal Preview: No. 3 Thomas vs. No. 2 Castleton

NAC Semifinal Preview: No. 3 Thomas vs. No. 2 Castleton

WATERVILLE, Maine – The Thomas College men's basketball team will travel north to Bangor, Maine for the North Atlantic Conference Tournament this weekend, searching for their first conference championship.

The No. 3 Terriers will face No. 2 Castleton in the NAC Semifinals on Friday at 1:00 p.m. for a trip to the conference championship the following day.  Thomas advanced on a 77-71 quarterfinal victory over Colby-Sawyer Tuesday while the Spartans earned a first-round bye.

During the 2016-17 season, the two teams split the series 1-1 with the home team winning each contest. 

About the Terriers

The Terriers are led by All-NAC First Team player Tyheem Simon who sits second in the conference with 21.1 points per game.  He also sits fourth in the NAC with a 55.6 percent shooting percentage and is tenth with a 39.8 three-point percentage.  With his current 549 points this season, Simon ranks sixth all-time for the most points in a single season at Thomas.

Carlos Gonzalez averages a double-double this season with his 13.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.  He ranks third in the conference in rebounds and third with his 55.9 percent shooting from the field.  The junior center currently has 13 double-doubles this season with a total of 348 points and 257 rebounds. 

About the Spartans

Castleton averages 71.0 points, 35.7 rebounds, and 13.1 assists per game while shooting 48.8 percent from the floor.  The Spartans are allowing opponents to score an average of 68.6 points per game, placing them first in the conference.

All-NAC First Team player, Chad Copeland, at 17.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, leads the Spartans offensively.  Tondi Mushandu averages 12.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while Edmund Fitzgerald averages 8.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest.  Mushandu and Fitzgerald sit number one and two in the conference with their 60.1 and 57.4 percent shooting from the floor.

First Meeting of 2016-17: December 3, 2016 – Thomas 70, Castleton 69

Simon led the Terriers on offense with 29 points, including 21 in the second half on 10-for-16 shooting and pulled down eight rebounds.  Jordan Derosby finished with 20 points, four rebounds, and four assists while Ian King chipped in with three points and ten assists.

Castleton was led by Tondi Mushandu's double-double on 18 points and 11 rebounds.  Jordan Nelson contributed with 15 points and six steals.

Second Meeting of 2016-17: February 3, 2017 – Castleton 61, Thomas 45

Simon led the Terriers with 12 points, while King finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, and two steals. As a team, Thomas shot 31 percent (18-of-58) from the field, including 4-of-19 from behind the three-point line.

Jordan Nelson shot 7-of-8 from the field as he led the Spartans with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Chad Copeland finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots, and two steals. Tondi Mushandu contributed 10 points for Castleton, as the team shot 46.7 percent (28-of-60) from the field and scored 13 second-chance points off 11 offensive rebounds.

The NAC Men's Basketball Champion will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship.

Click HERE for the Interactive Tournament Bracket.
Click HERE for the Printable Tournament Bracket.

2017 NAC MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
All start dates/times are subject to change

Quarterfinals • Tuesday, February 21 (at higher seeds)
No. 4 Lyndon 88, No. 5 UMaine-Farmington 66 Boxscore
No. 3 Thomas 77, No. 6 Colby-Sawyer 71 - Boxscore

Semifinals • Friday, February 24 (at Husson)
No. 3 Thomas vs. No. 2 Castleton - 1:00 p.m. - Video   |   CST Preview
No. 4 Lyndon at No. 1 Husson - 3:00 p.m. Video

Championship • Saturday, February 25 (at Husson)
Semifinal Winners - 2:00 p.m. Video