Four the win

With Patrick Gymnasium filled with students and an air of excitement, Vermont men’s basketball took the court against first place Stony Brook on Feb. 12.

Vermont battled 40 minutes to earn a win 68-49. First-year Four McGlynn had a leading performance, earning a career-high 24 points and sinking four three-pointers.

The game was high stakes — the win means Stony Brook is stripped of home court advantage for the playoffs, and their position at the top is jeopardized.

Vermont is now in control of their own destiny as three regular season finale wins will secure the Cats as America East’s No. 1 seed.

The game began with a strong open from the Catamounts with two consecutive three-pointers.

After only a minute of game time, sophomore Luke Apfeld put the first points on the board from behind the arc. Junior Brendan Bald followed shortly after, hitting a second three for Vermont.

Stony Brook found its first points with 16:53 left in the first half with a layup by Dallis Joyner, the powerhouse senior from Norfolk, Va.

With the score 6-2, Vermont’s offense ignited, while the defense successfully starved off multiple shot attempts from Stony Brook. Apfeld netted a jumper assisted by sophomore Brian Voelkel with 16:26 remaining.

Stony Brook was unable to answer back with a missed three by Dave Coley. Voelkel collected the rebound off Coley’s miss and sophomore Sandro Carissimo made the shot —Vermont 10-2 at 15:16.

Vermont’s defense continued to shut down Stony Brook as the halfway mark for the first half approached. A layup by sophomore Clancy Ruggs with 10:39 remaining put the Catamounts ahead 10 points over Stony Brook, 19-9.

With 8:38 left in the half, Voelkel stole the ball from the Stony Brook offense and McGlynn converted the mishap into a layup, putting Vermont up 21-9.

Following this play, Vermont would not score until a minute left in the half — giving Stony Brook the ability to close the gap.

Stony Brook called a crucial time-out with 8:43 remaining, attempting to put momentum back into their game in the closing minutes of the half.

Six-foot-seven-inch Joyner came out after the time-out with a newfound energy. The Stony Brook senior battled to earn an offensive rebound and a layup with 8:14 remaining, and repeated the play at 6:32, changing the score to 21-15.

In the final minutes of the half, Vermont’s shots missed the mark time and time again as Stony Brook was able to earn points off of multiple free throw shots.

Stony Brook’s Bryan Dougher and Joyner made their foul shots, leaving their team behind by only three points with two minutes remaining.

Vermont saw its first points in close to seven minutes off of a layup by McGlynn, with 1:01 remaining. Joyner quickly answered back for the final points of the half with yet another offensive rebound and a layup, decreasing Vermont’s lead to only one point going into the second, with the score at 23-22.

“Basketball is a game of runs and we knew we were going to bounce back in the second half,” Bald said of his feelings on the opening of the game. “If we can control the boards, we can control the tempo of the game.”

In the second period, Vermont set a solid pace for the remaining 20 minutes of play, fueled by steady three-pointers and the ability to capitalize on opportunities at the foul line. This was a change from the first half of play, where Vermont saw zero free throw opportunities.

McGlynn shined in the second period action, shooting 6-6 from the line and sinking shots from behind the arc four times.

“We were optimistic just for the fact that we played pretty poorly for what we expect of ourselves and we were still winning a one-point game with the first place team in the league,” McGlynn said. “So we pretty much assumed it could only go up from there.”

Defensively, the Catamounts shut down Stony Brook’s top scorers in the three-point zone — leaving the team 0-15 for three-point attempts. Stony Brook’s star player Joyner was successfully double-covered, giving him less opportunity to excel on rebounds as he did in first half action.

The Catamounts extended their one-point lead early in the second period with a layup from Carissimo — Stony Brook would never be that close to Vermont’s score for the remainder of the game. With 15:42 remaining, senior Matt Glass sunk a three, beginning the lead extension for Vermont with a score of 28-24.

Glass and McGlynn continued to dominate on the floor. Sophomore Josh Elbaum stole the ball and offered an assist to McGlynn, who was on target for his first three of the evening.

At 11:50, Coley fouled McGlynn, who earned two points from the foul line. Stony Brook’s Brenton Tommy came up with a jump shot, but McGlynn followed suit right after with his own, edging the score in Vermont’s favor to 37-30.

Then Vermont was seeing threes. With 8:56 remaining in the second, McGlynn sunk a three. A minute later, McGlynn did it again. At 7:03, Bald hit another from behind the arc, giving Vermont a 51-32 lead.

Stony Brook quickly made a run on the offense with a showing from Coley as he earned a layup and a point from the foul line. With 5:15 remaining, the 6-foot-2-inch Stony Brook player impressively dunked over 6-foot-8-inch Matt Glass. Yet the excitement was short-lived, as McGlynn scored yet another three for Vermont, giving the Cats a 19-point lead, 58-39.

When Glass and Coley both fouled out of the game with two minutes remaining, the Catamounts were sitting pretty with a sizeable lead.

Stony Brook was unable to materialize any substantial scoring in the closing moments of the game and, unlike Vermont, saw trouble sinking foul shots at crucial moments. The final points on the board went to McGlynn on two free throw shots, leading Vermont to victory 68-49 over Stony Brook.

“We’re still a young team, but I think we matured tonight, especially in that second half,” men’s basketball head coach John Becker said of the game. “That maturity will carry on through the rest of the season,”

The players from Vermont earned a standing ovation from the fans as the buzzer sounded.

“The environment was awesome, the fans were great and we’re really happy we got that win,” Bald said.