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Vermont, again, tops UAlbany men's basketball

Vermont, again, tops UAlbany men's basketball

Great Danes led by as many as 17
Vermont, again, tops UAlbany men's basketball
Vermont topped UAlbany 72-67 Thursday at SEFCU Arena.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

ALBANY — Two years to the day since Vermont’s last regular season loss in America East play, the University at Albany men’s basketball team had the Catamounts on the ropes.

Twice.

The Great Danes led by 17 points in the first half.

Then, early in the second half, the Catamounts tied up the game before the Great Danes answered with a run that sent them back up 10.

And . . . Vermont, somehow, left SEFCU Arena Thursday with a 72-67 win.

“We just didn’t finish the job,” UAlbany head coach Will Brown said.

Instead, Vermont secured its 31st consecutive regular season league win. Senior Trae Bell-Haynes led Vermont (10-0, 20-5) with 20 points, while UAlbany (6-5, 18-8) received a team-high 17 from junior David Nichols.

“They played really well. Dominated most of the game, were the tougher team most of the game. Really took it to us,” Vermont head coach John Becker said of the Great Danes. “I’ll have to watch the tape to figure out how we actually won this game to be honest with you.”

Brown? He had a pretty good idea how the Catamounts pulled it off.

“I think you’ve got to point the finger at Vermont and say, ‘You know what? You’re pretty darn good,’” said Brown, whose team lost 61-50 last month to Vermont in Burlington.

UAlbany took a 35-26 lead into halftime after leading by as many as 17 points in the opening 20 minutes. For the half, UAlbany made 15 of 29 shots and controlled 65.4 percent of available rebounds.

“Albany seemed like they made every shot to start the game,” Becker said.

“First half,” Bell-Haynes said, “we were pretty soft.”

After halftime, Vermont got going and tied up the game at 41 before UAlbany answered with a 10-2 run capped by a pair of 3-pointers from Nichols.

UAlbany built its lead to 55-45 with 12:12 to go, but its offense stagnated down the stretch like it often has during the past couple seasons against the Catamounts. The Great Danes missed 17 of 21 shots to close the game, while Vermont kept getting — and making — shots at the foul line.

“They got open shot after open shot from 15 feet,” Brown said of the Catamounts, who were 20 of 20 from the foul line for the contest and made 13 of those shots in the final 10:24.

Vermont went ahead for good with 1:40 to go on free throws from redshirt senior Payton Henson. After those Henson free throws, UAlbany missed its next four shots — including a final-minute attempt from 3 for junior Joe Cremo out of a timeout. The Great Danes gave Cremo a pair of screens to work off, but Vermont doubled him when he caught the pass, and his shot rimmed out.

“It’s a shot I work on all the time,” Cremo said. “It just didn’t drop. You got to live with it.”

Cremo scored 16 points in the loss, while fifth-year senior Travis Charles added 12 and junior Devonte Campbell had 10.

Vermont senior Drew Urquhart had 19 points and eight rebounds. All of Vermont’s points were scored by starters on a night where the Catamounts struggled for long stretches.

“We were searching a little bit tonight,” Becker said.

But Vermont left Albany with a win — and the Great Danes still searching for a way to topple this version of the Catamounts.

“We haven’t proven we can beat them,” Brown said. “We’ve proven that we can take them down to the wire, but we have not gotten the job done at this point.”

VERMONT

Urquhart 7-11 4-4 19, Henson 2-6 4-4 8, Bell-Haynes 6-15 6-6 20, Er. Duncan 5-13 4-4 15, Ev. Duncan 4-4 2-2 10, Smith 0-2 0-0 0, Patella 0-0 0-0 0, Ward 0-0 0-0 0, Kpedi 0-0 0-0 0, Rohrer 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 24-52 20-20 72.

UALBANY

Charles 6-9 0-0 12, Stire 2-8 2-2 6, Campbell 5-9 0-0 10, Nichols 5-12 5-6 17, Cremo 6-15 1-3 16, Clark 0-2 0-0 0, Foster 3-5 0-0 6, Anderson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 27-61 8-11 67.

Halftime score: UAlbany 35, Vermont 26. Three-point shooting: Vermont 4-12 (Urquhart 1-1, Henson 0-2, Bell-Haynes 2-5, Er. Duncan 1-4), UAlbany 5-15 (Campbell 0-1, Nichols 2-5, Cremo 3-7, Anderson 0-1, Clark 0-1). Rebounds: Vermont 30 (Urquhart 8), UAlbany 33 (Stire 8). Assists: Vermont 15 (Urquhart, Bell-Haynes 5), UAlbany 19 (Cremo 9). Turnovers: Vermont 8, UAlbany 6. Total fouls: Vermont 14, UAlbany 19. Fouled out: Ev. Duncan, Charles. Attendance: 3,602.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter. For more college basketball coverage, head to dailygazette.com/blogs/the-outlet.

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