Winning ways and now a broken foot

The streak was the buzzword until Thursday. Riding their most successful stretch since the fabled 2004-05 season, the men’s basketball team came back down to earth in their contest with Maine.The Black Bears’ Kevin Reed was the cold-hearted culprit at the scene in Patrick Gym. His ridiculous, off-balance, banked three-pointer with 40 seconds left added insult to injury for the Catamounts, even though it only put Maine up by three.The injury I’m talking about wasn’t the loss of the game so much as the loss of leading scorer Joe Trapani, who went down in the first half and did not return to play. The Burlington Free Press reported Saturday that Trapani had indeed suffered a broken foot during Thursday’s loss.As if dealing with the brunt of their America East schedule isn’t enough, the Cats now have to go without Trapani’s considerable talents for the next four to six weeks.Ouch, and ouch.The team that got to Thursday with a nifty 12-5 record, one that beat 14th-ranked BC in November, looked like completely different teams with Trapani and without. Now the question is: can they rebound?The clever answer to that is yes; Lonergan’s club has been rebounding well all season. However, like it or not, Trapani’s foot is no missed jumper and the real answer to my question is still up in the air.The Cats are still young, but no longer the youngest team in the country. The majority of the team have been able to perform beyond their years because the team as a unit has appeared remarkably cohesive. The team that started the game Thursday night looked comfortable, collected, mature.The team that played the second half of Thursday’s game had, oddly enough, the same names and faces but a much different appearance. Once again, Maine managed to get a win against a superior Vermont team (see: 2003-04 and 2004-05)While credit lies with the Black Bears’ long-range shooting and their solid defense (the Cats shot only 27 percent from the field in the second half) some certainly lies in Joe Trapani’s cast covering his left foot.So back to the question at hand: can the Catamounts rebound from the dual losses of Thursday’s game and play like the same team that just reeled off seven wins in a row?While they probably won’t win another seven in a row, who’s to put it past them? Anybody with foresight such that he or she could accurately predict a 12-5 record through their first 17 games should get the naming rights to Patrick Gym.Basketball still remains a team sport, and this UVM team has already proven its mettle. Losing Trapani, while bitter, is far from fatal for this squad.