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Vermont shooters take bite out of Danes' 'Growl'

Vermont shooters take bite out of Danes' 'Growl'

Hot-shooting Vermont spoiled University at Alb­any’s 12th annual Big Purple Growl by stopping the Gr

Hot-shooting Vermont spoiled University at Alb­any’s 12th annual Big Purple Growl by stopping the Great Danes, 79-70, Saturday night before a capacity crowd of 4,358 at SEFCU Arena.

The Catamounts (8-3, 17-7) avenged an earlier loss to the Danes at Patrick Gymnasium. They shot 50.9 percent from the floor and connected on 22 of 27 free-throw attempts, including the last 12 to clinch the victory.

Senior guard Mike Trimboli scored 20 points, including 10-for-10 from the line, while reigning America East Conference Player of the Year Marquis Blakely contributed 19 points and 12 rebounds. Colin McIntosh scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

The loss also spoiled a brilliant performance by UAlbany soph­omore guard Tim Ambrose, who scored all 29 of his points in the second half. Ambrose played only two minutes in the first half after collecting his second foul early in the game. The 29 points in a half tied a school record set by Gary Holway in 1956.

“That’s a much-needed win for us,” said Vermont coach Mike Lon­ergan, whose Catamounts lost a tough 85-83 decision to Binghamton Wednesday night. “We had lost four in a row to Albany, and they usually play very well here.

“We had no answer for Ambrose in the second half. I didn’t realize he had 29 points in the second half or I might have tried to do something else defensively on him.”

Vermont jumped out to a 6-0 lead on a pair of shots by Blakely and a 10-foot jumper by McIntosh. The Danes turned the ball over five times before they made their first basket, a jumper by freshman point guard Tim Raffa with 16:05 left in the first half.

Albany (5-5, 13-10) tied the score, 21-21, on a Mike Johnson driving layup with 11:21 remaining, but the Catamounts pulled out to a pair of 10-point leads before settling for a 34-28 halftime advantage.

Vermont led by as many as 14 (47-33) when Blakely made a pair of free throws with 15:04 to play.

The Danes charged back behind Ambrose and junior guard Louis Barraza, who finished with 17 points, including 5-for-5 from three-point range.

Ambrose scored the first eight points of the half for the Danes and later scored seven points in a row to cut the Danes’ deficit to 61-55.

When Barraza connected for a three-pointer with 2:36 left, the Danes’ deficit was just three.

But Vermont began to pull away again at the line. Albany got within five, 73-68, on a three-point play by Ambrose with 22 seconds remaining, but the Danes kept fouling Trimboli, one of the league’s best foul shooters, and he didn’t miss.

“That’s the second game in a row where we dug ourselves a hole in the first half but came back in the second half with a chance to win the game,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “When Will Harris scores only two points, and Tim Ambrose sits out the entire first half, you’re not going to win many games. We gave up too many easy baskets.”

VERMONT (79)

Blakely 7-12 5-8 19, McIntosh 7-12 2-2 18, Trimboli 5-12 10-10 20, Young 3-4 3-3 9, Joseph 1-4 0-0 2, Accaoui 1-2 2-2 5, Vier 0-2 0-1 0, Clarke 0-1 0-0 0, Fjeld 2-2 0-0 4, Shields 1-2 0-1 2. Totals: 27-53 22-27 79.

ALBANY (70)

Harris 1-9 0-1 2, Connelly 3-11 0-0 6, Gifford 0-3 0-0 0, Raffa 3-9 2-2 9, Ambrose 11-17 6-10 29, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Hastings 1-2 0-0 2 Johnson 2-2 1-3 5, Barraza 5-6 2-2 17, Covington 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-59 11-18 70.

Halftime: Vermont 34-28. Three-point goals: Vermont 3-13 (McIntosh 2-2, Trimboli 0-4, Joseph 0-2, Accaoui 1-2, Vier 0-2, Clarke 0-1); Albany 7-13 (Harris 0-4, Raffa 1-3, Ambrose 1-1, Barraza 5-5). Rebounds: Vermont 31 (Blakely 12), Albany 37 (Harris 8). Assists: Vermont 16 (Trimboli 6), Albany 14 (Johnson 5). Total fouls: Vermont 19, Albany 22. Fouled out: Ambrose. Officials: Paul Faia, Robert Patey, Kenneth Jayne. Attendance: 4,358 (sellout).

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