The Vermont Cynic

Basketball loses two-year win streak

First-year+Ra+Kpedi+sets+up+against+a+UNH+player+Feb.+15.+The+Catamounts+are+currently+22-6.+%0A
First-year Ra Kpedi sets up against a UNH player Feb. 15. The Catamounts are currently 22-6.

First-year Ra Kpedi sets up against a UNH player Feb. 15. The Catamounts are currently 22-6.

Sabrina Hood

Sabrina Hood

First-year Ra Kpedi sets up against a UNH player Feb. 15. The Catamounts are currently 22-6.

Sabrina Hood, Staff Writer

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For the first time in over two years, UVM men’s basketball left the court with a conference loss.

The Catamounts’ win streak came to an end Sunday, Feb. 18 with a 69-68 loss to the University of Hartford at Patrick Gym.

Senior forward Drew Urquhart posted a double-double in the defeat, with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Trae Bell-Haynes and senior forward Payton Henson added 12 points each.

Hartford started the game on fire, pulling out a 14-2 lead. Vermont would even the score by halftime, and the second half was tight.

Trailing by one with 15 seconds to go, UVM put their hopes on the reigning conference player of the year, Bell-Haynes, hoping for a clutch bucket.

It was not to be. Bell-Haynes had two attempts to win the game blocked by the Hawks’ defense.

Jason Dunne dominated for the Hawks with 26 points. George Blagojevic added 13 off the bench, along with two clutch blocks on Bell-Haynes’ desperate attempt to salvage the streak.

The final game in the win streak came three days earlier, as UVM beat the University of New Hampshire 71-58 at Thursday’s Rally Against Cancer game.

The Catamounts had a bumpy start at the beginning of the game, as UNH scored some early 3-pointers. To make matters worse, e Bell-Haynes and Urquhart got into foul trouble at the last eight minutes of the half, with each sitting on two early fouls.  

UVM continued to press and was able to tie with UNH at the half.

“Being tied at the half the way we played was a huge lift for us,” head coach John Becker said. “I went into the half saying that now we have a 20 minute game.”  

Redshirt sophomore guard Everett Duncan gave senior guard Ward credit for inspiring the team at the half.

“[Ward said] we didn’t work this hard to play like this at home and told us to pick it up,” Duncan said. “It was great to see, I’m really happy he did that because he really showed senior leadership.”    

At the half, with most of the players on the bench due to foul trouble or injury, Ward felt that he needed to encourage the team to keep playing hard in the next half.

“I just wanted to do whatever I needed to do to help us win,” Ward said.  

He was the highest scoring player of the game for UVM with 14 points.

“I thought Cam Ward for the second straight game played inspired, tough basketball,” Becker said. “He was a leader in time outs and I can’t be more impressed with what Cam is doing late in his career.”

UVM obtained a more substantial lead towards the end of the second half when first-year guard Stef Smith scored a 3-pointer, bringing the score to 52-48. From then on, Vermont kept scoring until finally getting that 13 point lead until finally winning game 71-58.

“For the seniors on our team, it’s our last run and we want to go out on top,” Ward said. “We want to just play as hard as we can every day and represent our state in the right way.”

Their next game is 7 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 21 against Binghamton University at Patrick Gym.  

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Basketball loses two-year win streak