The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

Offense shines in UVM men’s basketball exhibition against Catholic University

Elizabeth Smith
UVM men’s basketball wins against Catholic University 85-59 Oct. 28.

With the season just around the corner, men’s basketball works tirelessly to defend their American East championship, seeking their third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament in March.

The team took on Catholic University, a Division III program and Vermont head coach John Becker’s Alma Mater.

The exhibition matchup with the Cardinals was the fans’ first look at this year’s squad, which features eight newcomers and four freshmen. Becker and the Catamounts lost four of their five starters last year, and those who have returned have stepped into much larger roles.

The starting lineup, while not finalized and set for the official regular season, consisted of two-time American East Sixth Man of the Year graduate student and guard Aaron Deloney, sophomore guard TJ Hurley, junior transfer guard Shamir Bogues, junior forward Ileri Ayo-Faleye and graduate student forward Matt Veretto.

The game started with the two teams trading baskets, but following the first stop in play, Vermont took over. The Cats got some high-quality looks behind the arc from Deloney and Fairfield transfer TJ Long, and midway through the first half, Vermont had gone on a 17-0 run. Going into halftime, they were up 42-20, with Deloney already in double digits.

Out of the break, Veretto got the offense going again, but Catholic managed to keep the game competitive, refusing to let the game get out of hand. Long took over offensively, getting buckets from everywhere on the court.

Graduate transfer guard Jace Roquemore led the bench unit with his off-the-dribble scoring and playmaking. With under three minutes left, Vermont had as much as a 25-point lead and was in complete control.

Redshirt first-year Jackson Skipper emphatically ended the game on a baseline slam, which got everyone in Patrick Gym on their feet.

Long led the way with 17 points, followed by Deloney and Veretto with 15 and 14 respectively. In an all-around impressive offensive display, Vermont ended the day shooting 57% from the field and 41% from three-point range.

Vermont will continue to prepare for the regular season with one final exhibition game against St. Michaels before kicking off the regular season with a home against Merrimack on Nov. 6.

There is a lot of pressure on this team to perform, given the long-established culture of winning, Becker said.

Even with the large amount of roster turnover, Catamounts fans should have a lot to look forward to this season.

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