Cats handle Concordia

The Vermont men’s basketball team opened the 2006 season on All Hallows’ Eve with an exhibition victory over Canada’s Concordia University 74-50 in front of a costume-laden crowd at Patrick Gymnasium. The first opportunity of the season for the Cats to play against an opponent other than themselves saw freshman Joe Trapani step up in a big way and give Cats fans a lot to look forward to this season. Trapani, who was a McDonalds’ All-American nominee last season, led the Cats with 18 points and also added 11 rebounds. “I thought Joe had a great game,” head coach Mike Lonergan said. “We are going to need Joe to contribute this year as a freshman and he will play a lot, so I was happy to see him do well.” While Vermont got the victory, it was obviously preseason as the Cats committed 13 turnovers in the first half before tightening up their play, only giving the ball away four times in the second half. “It was a little more sloppy than I expected in the first half,” Lonergan said after the game. “[We] couldn’t finish inside for whatever reason. It kind of made for an ugly game for a while.” Senior Chris Holm, who had 11 points with 14 boards, and sophomore Colin McIntosh, who finished with 11 points, joined Trapani in double figures. “Chris Holm had a fabulous preseason, he has really been our best player,” Lonergan said. “It was a little disappointing that he was not able to finish tonight. He did a great job rebounding the ball, but I thought he could have easily had 18, 20 points if he made the baskets that he has been making in preseason.” After leading 34-27 at halftime, the Cats turned up the pressure in the second half to take control of the game. Missing for a lot of the second half was the commanding presence of Trimboli who was 3-for-9 from the field for six points in only 21 minutes due to foul trouble. He eventually fouled out with 10:41 remaining. “In a normal game I would not have played Mike Trimboli with four fouls, but I was trying to get a good experience out of it,” Lonergan said. “I said ‘Hey listen, I am going to play you because there might be a game where you’re one of our best players and you have to play with four.’ It was kind of good to play without him in case we might have to.” In the minutes following Tromboli’s exit, the Catamounts put away the game with a 9-3 run sparked by back-to-back three pointers by Trapani and co-captain Kyle Cieplicki to give Vermont a 60-44 lead with just over six minutes remaining. The Catamounts begin their regular season on Tuesday when they play New Orleans in the first round of the Maryland region of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.