UVM clinches regular season championship

With a 73-57 victory over University of Maine at Orono, the men’s basketball team earned their 10th straight win and secured the America East Regular Season Championship.

That means they will be the top seed in the America East tournament, which starts in early March.

Senior Evan Fjeld led the game with 19 points on 9-13 from the floor with seven rebounds, four assists and four blocks. Sophomore Brendan Bald added an additional 17 points and junior Matt Glass dropped in 11.

The team improved to 22-5 overall and 13-2 in America East. The Cats also set a season high in field goal percentage and assists with 59.6 and 22 respectively.

The win secured a bid to the National Invitational Tournament for the Cats if they don’t secure a spot in the NCAA tournament.

After starting hot and taking a quick 16-10 lead, the Cats struggled to extend their lead early, allowing Maine to get as close as 30-27 before pushing the lead to seven with just over five minutes to go in the half.

The team took the 40-34 lead into the locker room and never looked back. Vermont started the second half strong, extending their lead to 59-43 with 9:57 to go.

“I am very pleased with that win,” Vermont head coach Mike Lonergan said. “I thought we did a great job getting the lead in the second half and were able to run some clock.”

“Any time on the road when you can get a win like that, with what was at stake, I will take it,” Lonergan said. “That was great and now we can enjoy our trip to Charleston.”

First year Brian Voelkel gave the team eight rebounds and six assists while senior Joey Accaoui added an additional nine off the bench.

Vermont was able to out-rebound Maine 34-20 and never trailed in the contest.

Things did not go quite as well on Saturday in Charleston, S.C. The Catamounts were defeated by the College of Charleston 85-70, snapping their 10-game winning streak and dropping them to 22-6.

The contest was the first game Vermont has ever played in South Carolina and the first against a South Carolina team. The game was a part of the ESPN BracketBuster Challenge.

Vermont opened the game competitively, staying with Charleston for the first five minutes. Charleston then proceeded to go on a 22-0 run putting distance between themselves and Vermont, and went into the locker room with a 52-24 lead.

Three Cougars topped the 20 point mark as Andrew Goudelock, Willis Hall and Donavan Monroe had 24, 22 and 20 respectively.

Fjeld had 17 points and nine rebounds to lead the team and Voelkel added a game-high 10 rebounds.

Bald contributed 15 points, Accaoui netted 16, and first year Sandro Carissimo added a team-high five assists.

Charleston’s Goudelock is the nation’s fourth leading scorer and he has led Charleston to 21-7 record. Vermont outscored Charleston 46-33 in the second half and for the game outrebounded Charleston 40-32.

The Catamounts are now off until Feb. 27 when they host Boston University in their regular season finale.

Prior to the game, seniors Fjeld, Accaoui and Garrett Kissel will be honored as part of Senior Day.

They will look to get back on track in the run-up to the America East Tournament beginning March 5 in Hartford, Conn.