Cats drop a trio of close calls

It was a familiar scene last Thursday for the UVM Men’s Basketball team, when they were defeated by Boston University 59-58. Three nights before, the team had another loss to Albany by less than five points. The 64-61 loss on Feb. 11 also left UVM frustrated. For the third time in a row, the Cats fell in the final moments to Albany. “To lose another close one to them is frustrating for everyone,” junior Mike Trimboli said. The Cats struggled early on, but fought back to match Albany’s score at the end of the half. Both teams shot under 35 percent, making the half-time score a lowly 22-22. The second half was back and forth, but in the end Albany was able to pull away. With 1:16 left in the game, sophomore Marqus Blakely scored to cut the Albany lead down to two. Albany’s Brian Lillis increased the Great Danes’ lead by four after being fouled with 12.8 seconds left and Vermont rushed to get the ball back up the court. Senior Kyle Cieplicki was then fouled attempting a 3-pointer. Cieplicki made all three free throws, cutting the Albany lead down to one. After a quick foul followed by two Albany free throws, freshman Joey Accaoui in-bounded the ball with 2.6 seconds left to Cieplicki, who attempted another 3-pointer, but missed as time ran out. In all three games, UVM had the last possession and a chance to win or send the game into overtime. They missed the last shot each game. The team’s losses, however, aren’t because of lack of effort. In Sunday’s 71-70 OT loss to Stony Brook, Blakely recorded his eighth straight double-double. Unfortunately, Blakely, with his seventh double-double, was one of only two Cats with double digits on Thurs?day – Trimboli added 10. The game came down to a forced shot by Trimboli, who was looking to dish the ball but ran out of time. “Another time I just couldn’t get it done,” Trimboli said. “I just want to be as confident as I can be and get somebody else a look if I can.” With the loss, the team fell from second to fourth in the America East with a regular season record of 7-6. “We continue to be inconsistent,” head coach Mike Lonergan said. “We have to find some more strengths on the basketball team.” Lonergan will have to look to the bench to find those strengths, possibly giving Accaoui more time on the floor. “Everyone is getting a little tired out,” Trimboli said. “As a team we need to take some time, regroup and rest before the playoffs.” The team can’t rest just yet. They still have three regular season games left to play, only one of which will be played at Patrick Gym. UVM will host the second-place Hartford Hawks in what will be their last regular season home game on Wednesday, Feb. 20.