Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON.– The UVM Catamounts led the entire game and cruised to an 85-54 win in the America East home opener on Sunday afternoon at Patrick Gym. With the victory, Vermont extended its winning streak to four games which ties a season-long.
The 31-point win is the largest margin of victory for a conference home opener in program history since joining America East in 1979-80. The Cats beat the Hawks for the seventh straight time and improve to 12-5 overall and 2-0 in league play. Hartford drops its conference opener and falls to 5-11 on the year.
Vermont controlled just about every facet of the game. The Cats shot 56.7% (34-of-60) from the floor including nine three-pointers and held Hartford to only 32.8% (20-of-61) shooting. UVM outscored Hartford 42-24 in the paint and transformed 18 turnovers by the Hawks into 33 points on the offensive end. The green and gold showed its depth by winning the bench battle 47-13.
Darren Payen recorded his fourth straight game with double figures as the redshirt senior scored a team-high 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting. Trae Bell-Haynes followed with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting and dished out five assists. Payton Henson added 11 points and five rebounds in his first game back since Dec. 10 after nursing a leg injury. Ernie Duncan and Kurt Steidl each shot 3-for-5 from long distance for nine points.
Hartford’s Jalen Ross dropped five triples for a game-high 19 points. Jason Dunne and Hasson Attia scored nine points apiece as Attia finished with a game-high eight rebounds.
The Catamounts started the game on a 9-0 run by sinking their first three attempts from beyond the arc, including a pair from Duncan. After the Hawks answered with scores on their next two possessions, UVM kept the momentum on its side with a 7-0 run after Steidl made his second three-point shot of the afternoon along with mid-range jumpers from Payen and Drew Urquhart.
At the midway point of the half, Vermont had jumped out to a 31-12 lead after blowing the game open with a 14-5 run. The remainder of the period belonged to the green and gold as the group closed out the half on a 20-10 run and held a 52-22 lead at the break, which set a season-high for the most points in the first half.
In the second half, the conference foes traded buckets for the first five minutes until UVM produced a 10-0 run and padded its lead to 68-32 with 12:28 to play.
With a 28-point lead and five minutes to play, the Cats put the game away with a 10-0 run in a two-and-a-half-minute span to stay unbeaten in the young conference schedule.
Vermont heads to the Empire State on Wednesday (Jan. 11) to play Binghamton. Action gets underway at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN3 and the watchESPN app by logging in with your cable provider.