Hartford Topples Cats’ 16-Game Win Streak

UVM men’s basketball luminary Taylor Coppenrath named the America East Player of the Week announced by the conference office on Wednesday.It is the second player of the week award for Coppenrath, the 2002 America East Rookie of the Year, who also earned the honor in November. The 6-foot-9 sophomore forward leads the conference in scoring averaging 21.4 points per game while tallying 20 or more points in eight of his 14 contests. He also is fourth in rebounding (6.6 per game), second in field goal percentage (48%) and fourth in free throw percentage (81%) On Wednesday night’s win over Maine, Coppenrath had 19 points and nine rebounds as Vermont held off the Black Bears, 65-59, in America East action at the Patrick Gym. The win was the third straight and the eighth in nine games for the Catamounts (11-8, 5-2 America East) who also extended their school-record home court win streak to 16 games. The streak was the 11th best current home winning streak in the nation until the Cats lost to Hartford on Saturday. The Black Bears (8-10, 3-3) took advantage of eight turnovers and cold Vermont shooting after the break to gradually whittle the margin down. The Cats made just three of their first 15 field goal attempts to start the half to let Maine come back. Grant Anderson, David Hehn and Coppenrath each hit a pair of free throws to give the Cats the lead again and then they iced it on Germain Njila’s long three-pointer. Vermont ran the shot clock down to one second and the game clock to five seconds before Njila sealed the win by swishing a 35-footer. In addition to Coppenrath, Goia finished with 14 points including five three-pointers. Matt Sheftic chipped in with six points and seven rebounds while Anderson added eight points, five rebounds and five steals. Both teams shot 43% from the floor but the Catamounts went seven-for-15 from long range while the Black Bears hit on just six-of-19 three-pointers. On Saturday afternoon, during Hartford’s visit to the Patrick Gym, Jerrell Parker scored 15 points, all in the second half, as the Hawks topped Vermont, 63-55. The loss snapped the Catamounts’ school-record 16-game home winning streak, which was the 11th longest current run in the nation. On November 24, 2001, Cleveland State was the last visitor to win at Patrick Gym, defeating Vermont, 72-69. “I thought our great strength was our toughness and I still believe that, but they were way tougher,” Brennan conceded. “They got every loose ball; they got offensive rebounds; they just punched us in the nose and we didn’t come back.” Parker led a balanced Hartford attack but it was poor second half shooting that hurt the Catamounts. UVM shot just 29% from the field after the half and made just two-of-15 three-point attempts. A trapping defense by the Hawks helped force Vermont to make 11 second half turnovers. Hartford helped themselves by shooting 50% from the floor in the second half including three-for-six from three-point range. Behind 12 points by Taylor Coppenrath, Vermont led, 30-24, at the break. But they missed their first seven field goal attempts, and two chances at the line, to open the second half. The Hawks (9-8, 4-2 America East) took advantage of the draught as Parker’s lay-up capped a 14-2 run to give them a 38-32 lead with 13 minutes left. Two shot-clock beating three-pointers by Ryan Stys, and another trey by Parker, each held off Vermont comeback bids down the stretch. “We just didn’t come ready to play, and this team, for sure, did,” senior co-captain Grant Anderson said. Coppenrath finished with a game-high 21 points and had a team-high seven rebounds. With 10 points, Grant Anderson was the only other Catamount to score in double figures. Coupled with Northeastern’s win over Boston University this afternoon, Vermont (11-8, 5-2) still remains in second place in the America East just a game behind the Terriers (6-1). The Catamounts next play at New Hampshire on Wednesday. -SportsInfo