Catamounts stomp over Black Bears

Curt Berry, Staff Writer

Vermont took the first step towards America East glory, defeating the University of Maine on the back of a superb second half performance.

UVM outplayed Maine Saturday night, winning 75-60, and advanced to the semifinals. They will play Stony Brook University March 6.

Senior guard Trae Bell-Haynes, who was awarded the America East Player of the Year for the second consecutive year last week, led the team with 21 points, along with four assists.

Before the game began, UVM honored two of its players; junior guard Ernie Duncan and senior forward Payton Henson were acknowledged for scoring 1,000 points in their college careers.

Maine came out strong in the first couple minutes of the game. They went on a 12-4 run and went 3-3 from the 3-point line. Head coach John Becker called for a timeout.

After the timeout, UVM went on an 8-0 run to even out the score. Several minutes later, Becker sent in sophomore forward Anthony Lamb, and all 3,200 fans rose up and applauded. This was Lamb’s first home game of the season, as he was suffering from an injury for most of it.

Lamb played 11 minutes and finished with seven points and three rebounds. Becker talked about Lamb’s progression over the course of the season as he dealt with an ankle injury.

“He’s a really tough kid and it is amazing how he can come back after battling an injury and contribute the way he has,” Becker said.

At the end of the first half, UVM led 36-33. The second half was not much more of a battle, as UVM jumped out to an 18-5 run for the first ten minutes of the second half. During this run, Bell-Haynes poured in eight points of his own.

The game finished with a final score of 75-60, as Becker gave the players on the bench some playing time. Senior guard David Urso played his first minute of playoff basketball on Saturday night.

“We were a lot more aggressive in the second half,” Becker said. “Our defense really got us going, and we were able to get on a nice run.”

Once again, Bell-Haynes was consistent throughout the game. He was able to keep Vermont in the game in the first half, and was the spark for them to break away in the second.

“I felt good about my shooting in the first half, and I feel like they [Maine] saw that, so they gave me more respect in the second, so I was able to create more space for others,” Bell-Haynes said.

The Catamounts, who are the top seed in America East, look to defend the house again Tuesday, as Stony Brook will come in after an upset against the University at Albany.