Men’s and women’s hoops in strong position as tournament approaches

The wagon is rolling for the UVM men’s basketball and it’s a good time for fans to jump on. After a huge 83-39 romping of UNH, the team has now won seven consecutive games and nine of their last 11. The streak is the longest for the program since the 2006-2007 season.Whether they play stellar, steady or sloppy, Vermont has been able to eke out wins in all fashions. In a win last week against Maine, Vermont came out sluggish to start the game. “It was nice to get a win, because I didn’t think we played very well like we have been playing the last few games,” head coach Mike Lonergan said. “We didn’t have the energy, especially in the first half.”But the second half was another story as junior Marqus Blakely willed the team to victory through dominant play, which resulted in an impressive stat line of 23 points and 20 rebounds. During the game, senior point guard Mike Trimboli broke Kenny White’s (1988-92) career assist record of 545 to become the top passer in school history. In addition to Vermont’s lengthy win streak, sophomore Evan Fjeld has rebounded from his early season injuries and is now beginning to contribute consistently in recent games. The 6’8” Fjeld’s emergence is key for UVM’s undersized frontcourt, whose tallest player is 6’7″ senior Colin McIntosh. With Fjeld coming off the bench along with reserves junior Maurice Joseph and sophomore Joey Accaoui, the team has increased its depth and balance, which will prove to be crucial in the upcoming conference tournament. If the postseason were to start today, Vermont would hold the No. 1 seed, as they sit atop the America East standings at 7-2.Though the wagon has picked up steam, the road does not get any easier. Huge roadblocks remain in the form of Binghamton and Albany, both of whom beat UVM in league play earlier this season.Vermont must prepare well to defend Binghamton scoring machine D.J. Rivera, who lit up the Cats for 29 points in their last matchup, which resulted in an overtime loss.Fortunately for Vermont, the team is coming together at the right time and is playing its best basketball going into two of the most important matchups of the season.