FARMINGTON — Castleton University used a handful of colossal young men to stay on top of the University of Maine at Farmington in an NAC basketball game at Dearborn Gymnasium on Friday night,

And when UMF (1-5, 0-2 NAC) used a zone defense, the Spartans punched holes in it with their speed. Castleton (5-1, 2-0 NAC) eventually did the same when the Beavers switched to man-to-man, even though they disrupted Castleton’s offense with the change in defenses.

UMF gave the Spartans fits in the first 15 minutes, but the game soon got away from the Beavers as Castleton cruised to 83-66 victory.

“We need to get better playing for each other,” UMF coach Dick Meader said. “We catch the ball and we are not ready to pass it. When we put it on the floor, we should be searching for people. There is a lot of fundamental mistakes, but they are all correctable.They can be improved on this if this group is willing to stick together, and if they do that, they will.

“That’s a good team. Not only size, but Chad Copeland is one of the best players in the league. I mean, he is very good.

“Defensively, our efforts were there, but size hurt us there. You have to make it up on offense, stay with them and execute. One of the problems we have is executing.”

By the end of the first half, it was obvious the Spartans would have the upper hand and built a 42-27 lead at halftime.

UMF captain Ryan Camire delivered a team-leading 14 points and former Dirigo High School star Riley Robinson scored 13. Amir Moss dished off three assists.

On the other side of the court, 6-foot-7 Chad Copeland tossed in the game-high 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Tondi Mushandu, a 6-foot-3 guard, raced around the court and threw in 16 points. Jordan Nelson helped out with 12.

The feisty Beavers did everything to frustrate the Spartans. But Castleton features four players who range from 6-foot-5 to 6-foot-8 — and they’ve got game.

UMF tried to compensate for its lack of size with some solid defense and fine outside shooting, but Castleton’s size was tough to beat.

“We have a pretty big team, which is unusual for us,” Castleton coach Paul Culpo said.”We generally pretty small. So this year has been a little bit different. We are going half-court based. We have done a good job to this point this year, pounding it inside. We are winning like the 1950 teams used to win.

“We did a pretty good job against zone, but when they went back to man, we hadn’t caught the same rhythm that we had going earlier in the game offensively, which you know, when you change defenses, that sometimes can happen.

“I think they are a much better team than they were last year. I said to Dick after the game, I said this is best recruiting class, and I have only been in the league a year. They have kids at each position, so they are going to be a pain in the neck down the road.”

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