Men’s basketball wins division for third year in a row

Jared Paquette, Staff Writer

The UVM men’s basketball beat Stony Brook 56-50 March 2 for the second time this year, winning the American East Division for the third year in a row, according to UVM athletics.

This win gives the Catamounts a 23-6 record with one game to go in their season before the American East playoffs begin, according to UVM athletics.

UVM got the first possession, where sophomore guard Ben Shungu got fouled and made both free throws. This was the Burlington native’s first start of his career, leading the team with eight rebounds.

Stony Brook was able to get three fast breaks, but UVM was able to prevent them from scoring during their first four possessions.

Four minutes into the game, senior guard Ernie Duncan scored a three-point shot, which was the first of the night for the Catamounts.

UVM was able to get a quick steal which lead to a sophomore guard Stef Smith breakaway layup, extending their lead to 9-4

Following the second media timeout, junior forward Anthony Lamb got a block off a Stony Brook three-point attempt, and then scored a layup from first-year forward Ryan Davis’ assist.

Becker said the younger guys like Davis and Shungu are starting to be more consistent players.

“In big moments, we had Ryan Davis and Ben Shungu step up,” he said.  “Ryan Davis played really well in both halves, and Ben Shungu gave us some good scoring.”

Lamb continued to score, making two three pointers in back-to-back possessions, and then finding junior guard Everett Duncan for a three-point shot off a first-year guard Robin Duncan steal.

First-year forward Isaiah Moll hit a 15 foot jump shot, and then got a steal to finish the half with a fast break layup. The Catamounts led at the half 36-24.

Stony Brook was able to come out of the second half scoring 18 points to UVM’s 3, hitting four threes, where they only made two in the first half.

Head coach John Becker said that the team needed to shift more focus onto their defense.

“Stay the course, keep getting stops,” he said. “Don’t let your offense affect your defense.”

With eight minutes remaining, Lamb took control by ending a scoreless four minutes scoring and got a fast break bucket.

With six minutes remaining, Davis was able to hit the game tying three which made the fans erupt.

John Becker said the team was able to bounce back from this run because of the fans.

“When we couldn’t score, the fans brought us back,” he said. “They gave us energy, positivity and willed us. At the key moments, they provided us that will.”

With the game tied up at 50, Shungu was able to score a layup to give UVM the lead with a minute left to go.

With 36 seconds remaining, a Stony Brook player tried to tie the game again, but Lamb’s defense prevented Stony Brook from scoring this basket.

Lamb said that holding the Seawolves to four points in the last 11 minutes through their defensie is a big part of what the team practices.

“It’s a big part of our game, and we’re going to keep training,” he said. “Once we get back to playing defense, our offense comes.”

Ernie Duncan was then fouled and ended the game by making both of his free throws.

Shungu said that this was the best crowd in the entire conference.

Their final game of the season will be against UMass Lowell 7 p.m. March 5 at home.

Although, because of this win, UVM qualifies for the American East quarterfinals playoff game 7 p.m. March 9.