Basketball makes conference history


Oliver Pomazi

Men’s basketball players gather together

Men’s basketball historic regular season came to a conclusion on Saturday, with a 66-51 win over Stony Brook University on Senior Night.

That was Vermont’s 18th consecutive win, the longest winning streak in the country. The win also secured UVM’s undefeated status, becoming only the third team in America East to accomplish the feat.

The season has been filled with record-breaking performances and new heights for the program.

While the team as a whole has set a school record for their current 18-game winning streak, and their 16-0 conference record, some players have also enjoyed individual success.

Junior guard Trae Bell-Haynes and senior guard Kurt Steidl reached the 1000 career points milestone, and Lamb has been named America East Rookie of the Week six times, according to America East records.

“We’ve had an incredible record and record-breaking season so far,” head coach John Becker said.

The experience on the roster has proven to be crucial to the team’s record.

“Things aren’t always going to go our way,” redshirt senior forward Darren Payen said. “Having that experience is huge. We are able to stay composed and respond to any type of adversity.”

The team’s depth has been talked about amongst media, including mentions from Sports Illustrated and ESPN.

“For the first time in a couple of years, we have the depth and balance to compete for a championship again,” Becker said. “We can go 11 or 12 players deep, without much of a drop in talent.”

Consistency in practice has been another key factor to the team’s unparalleled success.

“We prepare for each game the same way, no matter who we are playing,” Payen said. “We want to take it one game at a time.”

The team chooses to not look past any opponent, and that in order to continue winning, they need to prepare the same for any team they may face, Bell-Haynes said.

However, as a program, the coaches said they try to ensure that the players are not satisfied with the status quo.

“We have to continue to do the little things,” Becker said. “The key is consistency. We still have better basketball in us.”

In a recent ESPN bracketology prediction, Joe Lunardi has UVM as the No. 13 seeded team in the NCAA tournament, playing No. 4 seeded West Virginia in the west region.

In 2005, Vermont was the No. 13 seed, pitted against No. 4 seeded Syracuse University.

In the most memorable game in the program’s history, UVM upset the Syracuse Orange 60-57 in overtime.

The shocking victory sealed the Catamounts first tournament win in program history.

Since that game, UVM has not been seeded that high and has failed to get past the round of 64 when making it into the NCAA tournament.

With that being said, the team still has its sights set on the conference tournament that begins March 1.

“We’ve had a great regular season so far but our ultimate goal is to win the America East Championship so we are staying focused on what we need to do to accomplish our goal,” Steidl said.

The Catamounts will host the University of Maine, the lowest seeded team in the America East Quarterfinals March 1 at Patrick Gym.