Balanced Attack Lifts Cats To Eighth Straight Win

T.J. Sorrentine and Taylor Coppenrath combined for 36 points as streaking Vermont cruised past New Hampshire, 82-68, in America East men’s basketball at Patrick Gym Saturday afternoon.

The win for the Catamounts, in front of a sellout crowd on 3,228, was their eighth straight overall as they improved to a perfect 7-0 in the America East to equal their best-ever start in conference play matching the 2001-02 season. Vermont also won for the 10th straight time at home.

Sorrentine scored 14 of his game-high 19 points in the first half to pick up for Coppenrath, the nation’s third leading scorer, who was hampered by two early fouls. The junior point guard opened the game strong hitting three of his four three-pointers before the break. Vermont went nine-for-15 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes as the Catamounts took control of the contest with a 47-26 halftime lead.

“With Taylor (Coppenrath) in foul trouble early this win is a tremendous testimony to the rest of the boys on the block,” commented Vermont coach Tom Brennan. “T.J. was really the difference, especially offensively, keeping them on their heels the whole game. (Corey) Sullivan and (Alex) Jensen also had big games off the bench, which is something that we’ve expected from them for a long time. I think the year off really had an effect on Alex, but he is a heck of a basketball player and he’s really starting to come around now.”

Jensen, a transfer from Lehigh, had his best day as a Catamount with 13 points including three three-pointers. Sullivan also came off the bench to add 12 points and five rebounds shooting a perfect four-for-four from the floor, three-for-three from long range.

After the break, Vermont widened their lead to as many as 31 points before a late Wildcats run made the final margin more respectable.

Sorrentine also had a game-high seven assists and Coppenrath went 11-for-12 from the foul line to finish with 17 points and seven rebounds. Germain Njila and Martin Klimes each had a game-high eight rebounds as Vermont out-rebounded New Hampshire, 44-41. The Catamounts also shot a season-best 52.4% from three-point range (11-for-21) and went 47% overall from the field.

UNH (5-13, 1-7 America East) was led by Ronnie Dennis, who came off the bench to score a team-high 17 while Ioannis Karalis chipped in with 12, nine in the second half. Blagov Janev, another reserve, added 10 while Craig Walls gathered a team-high seven rebounds.

The Catamounts (11-5, 7-0), alone in first place in the America East, travel to Albany Wednesday (7:00pm; Radio: WVMT 620 AM). They return home next Saturday hosting America East newcomer UMBC at 1:00pm. Please call 1-866-4CATTIX for ticket information.

-Courtesy of Athletic Communications