Men’s basketball hangs on against Hartford

Vermont men’s basketball team almost let a second straight first half lead slip away at home, but gritty defense at the end proved to be enough to keep Hartford at bay in a 71-63 win.”I guess we’re making a habit of that,” sophomore Evan Fjeld said. “We definitely need to put teams away when we have the opportunity.” UVM’s last game at home before Monday night’s win saw them blow a 23-point halftime lead in a loss to Hartford.Neither UVM nor Hartford could get a good grip on the ball to start the game, but once the Cats found a good handle, they didn’t let go. After Hartford hit the first basket of the game, a three by Sabia Morgan, the Cats went on a 13-0 run over the next six minutes. Junior Maurice Joseph played a major part in the stretch, scoring seven points including two fast break layups and a three pointer with 11:55 to play. Vermont’s stingy defense held the Hawks (6-18 overall, 2-8 conference) to just 17 first half points and forced 13 turnovers. The Cats had problems containing the ball themselves, committing eight turnovers in the first half. The second half was a different story yet again for the Cats, who let Hartford chip away at their lead. “We need to just step on their throat and take the game,” freshman Garvey Young said. “We haven’t been doing that in the past two home games.”A three pointer by Young gave Vermont a 50-31 lead with 11:50 to play but hard-nosed defense and 3-point shooting allowed Hartford to claw back into the game. After a 3-pointer by Hartford guard Jaret von Rosenberg with 6:25 to play, Vermont found themselves clinging to a 54-51 lead.But the Hawks would get no closer as Vermont stepped up it’s defense and began