Catamounts win in first game back at home

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The Vermont Cynic

Catamounts win in first game back at home

UVM+sophomore+guard+Ernie+Duncan+drives+to+the+hoop+against+Marist.+
UVM sophomore guard Ernie Duncan drives to the hoop against Marist.

UVM sophomore guard Ernie Duncan drives to the hoop against Marist.

UVM sophomore guard Ernie Duncan drives to the hoop against Marist.


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The Catamounts defeated the Marist College Red Foxes 86-60 on Nov. 29.

UVM returned to Patrick Gym and played in front of over 1,500 fans on their home court after thousands of travel miles in one week and two away games.

Head coach John Becker called the game “a great team win.”

The Cats had five different players score at least 10 points each, and all but two players on the team had at least one rebound.

  The team was led by juniors Kurt Steidl and Dre Wills, with 17 and 10 points respectively.

The Catamounts’ defense stifled Marist, limiting them to 42 percent shooting.

With Marist playing four guards, “big men” such as Steidl, as well as seniors Ethan O’Day and Darren Payen, dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Red Foxes 46-20.

The size also gave the Cats 21 second chance points, as opposed to just six by the visitors.

From the tip-off, Vermont took a lead that they would hold onto for most of the game, with Marist’s lone lead being a brief two-point advantage early in the game.

The Catamounts led the game for over 38 minutes and led by as much as 29 points.

Additionally, the Cats shot 19 of 28 from the field (68 percent) in the first half, ending the half on a 29-15 run that saw them open up a 14-point lead at halftime.

Despite this, Marist’s quick guard Brian Parker led the game in scoring, scoring 22 points. Steidl led the Cats with 17, including a solid 50 percent from 3-point range.

“We could have made excuses,” Becker said after thegame, citing the recent away games that saw the team travel from Uncasville, Connecticut, to Florida midweek before returning to Burlington for this game.

“But we were focused, determined today, and got back to playing Vermont basketball, which was great to see,”he said.

Steidl, who missed the midweek loss to the University of Florida at Gainesville due to injry, credited Becker’s emphasis on rebounding as a key contributor to the win.

“[Becker] has really stressed rebounding throughout the whole offseason, the whole preseason and saying that’s the key to our season. If we rebound, we’re going to win a lot of games,” Steidl said. “We just got out there, and, as a team collectively, rebounded as much as we could.”

Wills, who Becker called the “heart and soul” of the team, gave plenty of credit to the “big men.”

“Credit our bigs, they played unbelievably today,” Wills said. “They stayed with them, with their hands, forcing their guards to give up the ball.”

He added to Steidl’s comments about defense and rebounding: “We focused a lot on offense early on, because we know our defense was going to get better eventually,” Wills said. “But as we go on, we’ve been stressing defense more; our offense is up to speed, and our defense is getting caught up.”

The Catamounts improved to 3-4 on the season, and next embark on a three-game nonconference road trip with stops at Dartmouth, Yale and St. Bonaventure.

The Catamounts will then return to Patrick Gym  Dec. 16 to play the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Conference play opens when UVM plays the University of Maine in Orono on Jan. 6.

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Catamounts win in first game back at home