Cats rally against cancer
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The Rally Against Cancer game began with the UVM crowd giving a warm welcome to two families that have children with cancer.
Vermont athletics awarded each child their own Vermont Rally Against Cancer jersey. Following a lengthy period of cheers and applause, the families were escorted off the court and to their seats. Patrick Gym was filled with warmth and compassion as the game began.
UVM looked to continue their perfect conference play when they faced off against the Binghamton Bearcats (12-13 overall record, 3-8 American East Conference record) Monday night. The Catamounts entered the match up with a 20-5 overall record, and a 10-0 American East Conference record.
The Catamounts got off to a slow start, trailing Binghamton 9-4 in the first few minutes of play.
As a result, head coach John Becker pulled four starters to try and gain some momentum. Junior Cam Ward and senior Dre Wills sparked the change in momentum by combining for eight quick points.
From that point, the team really came together and rallied behind each other. The Catamounts headed into halftime with a 33-23 lead behind three three-pointers from sophomore guard Ernie Duncan.
“We are all looking for each other; if Payton [Henson] gets hot we are definitely trying to feed him and in the Hartford game, Lamb was feeling it, so we kept feeding him,” Duncan said. “Tonight I was kind of feeling it. Everyone is looking out for each other.”
The Catamounts started the second half with much more energy than the first. junior forwards Payton Henson, Darren Payen and Drew Urquhart controlled the glass, each grabbing five rebounds.
Payen was a huge spark off the bench, going five for five from the field, and one for two from the line. Payen finished the game with 11 points and five rebounds.
Becker praised Payen’s contributions after the game.
“He has been unbelievable this year for us, I mean, you look at the box score and he never misses,” Becker said. “He is consistent, he has been there every game, he has been there every practice, and I could not be happier for the kid.”
The Catamounts were able to use Payen’s contributions in the second half to propel them to an 18 point lead with under 10 minutes to go.
“I think we are continuing to take this one game at a time, and I think it’s shown through our focus and play each game,” Payen said.
Vermont won the game 71-51 behind Payton Henson’s 13 points and Ernie Duncan’s 18 points.
As the game finalized, several fans shouted, “See you Thursday,” referring to Vermont’s next home game. After the game, Becker spoke about Duncan’s involvement on offense.
“I just have to make sure we keep him involved,” he said.
When asked about Duncan’s shooting that night, Becker said, “it was good to see, it was good to see.”
The Catamounts continued their dominant play Thursday night with a 82-74 win against the University of New Hampshire, followed by a narrow 77-74 win at UMBC.
Vermont travels to Lowell, Mass. tonight to play UMass Lowell at 7p.m.