Cieplicki Leads Cats Past Concordia In Men’s Hoop Preseason Tilt

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Kyle Cieplicki (Shelburne, Vt.) led a balanced attack with 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as Vermont topped Concordia of Montreal, 77-65, in a men’s college basketball preseason game at Patrick Gym on Sunday afternoon.

Cieplicki was one of five Catamounts to tally in double figures in UVM’s final tuneup before its regular season opener at Harvard next Saturday. Martin Klimes (Prague, Czech Republic) added a game-high 18 points while Mike Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn.) had 15 points and dealt out five assists. Colin McIntosh (Milton, Mass.) came off the bench to score 13 points and Chris Holm (Henderson, Nevada) chipped in with 10 points and eight boards. Ryan Schneider (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) also had a game-high 11 rebounds.

“We had great balance today in a good test against a pretty good team,” said Vermont coach Mike Lonergan. “We were a little sluggish at the start but closed out the half well and began the second half strong. Kyle played with great poise and had a very solid game. Chris Holm also played very well for us inside.”

Vermont’s team defense shut down the Stingers in a seven-minute span overlapping halftime in taking control of the game. Concordia made nine of its first 13 shots and Rastko Popovic’s three-pointer gave them a 26-17 with just under ten minutes left in the first half. The Catamounts began to chip away outscoring the Stingers 15-4 the rest of the stanza. Twice they tied the game in this stretch and an 18-foot jumper by Trimboli just before halftime gave them a 32-30 edge.

After the break, the Catamounts burst out of the gate strong with a 17-4 run over the first five minutes. An inside low post finish by Holm with just under nine minutes to go gave the Vermont its biggest lead, 61-44. Concordia would cut the deficit to single digits on four occasions but Vermont bounced back each time with solid free throw shooting going 11-for-14 in the second half.

Cieplicki went four-for-five from the floor, two-for-three from beyond the arc and made all five of his free throw attempts in a solid all-around effort. Vermont, led by Schneider and Holm, out-rebounded Concordia, 40-23, and made 50 percent of its field goal attempts. After its hot start, the Stingers shot just 34 percent in the last 30 minutes to finish at 43 percent for the game.

Concordia, playing its seventh U.S. foe in the last two weeks, had three players, Popovic, Patrick Perrotte and Damian Buckley, each scored 14 points. Popovic came off the bench to go four-for-six from three-point range.

After its game at Harvard on Saturday at 4 pm, Vermont is at Providence on Monday, November 21st, before returning to Patrick Gym for its regular season home opener hosting WAC power Nevada on Wednesday, November 23rd, at 7 pm. Prior to the game with the 25th-ranked Wolf Pack, UVM will unfurl its 2005 championship banner. General admission tickets are available for all Vermont regular season home games at the UVM Athletic Ticket Office by calling 1-866-4-CAT-TIX. Tickets are also available on line at www.uvmathletics.com.