Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
RENO, Nev. – For the second straight season, the College Basketball Invitational semifinals marked the end of the road for the Vermont men’s basketball team as the Catamounts fell to Nevada, 86-72, at the Lawlor Events Center Wednesday night.
Vermont finishes the season with a 23-14 overall mark – the second season under John Beckerwith at least 23 wins – while Nevada moves on the CBI Championship Series with a 22-13 record.
The backcourt combo of Trae Bell-Haynes and Ernie Duncan paved the way for the Cats offensively each finishing with 19 points. Drew Urquhart also reached double figures with 12 points and also added three rebounds, two blocks and pair of steals. Darren Payen grabbed a team-high eight boards and swatted three shots.
Cameron Oliver played well above the rim for the Wolf Pack scoring a game-high 23 points to go along with 11 rebounds. D.J. Fenner went for 21 points and Marqueze Coleman came off the bench to pump in 20. That trio combined to scored 64 of Nevada’s 86 total points.
After seeing Nevada jump out to an 11-3 lead to start the game, Vermont found a groove offensively and rattled off eight straight to tie the game at 11. Urquhart scored four points during that key stretch and pulled the Cats even with a lefty jump hook in the lane.
The Wolf Pack responded with a 7-0 run of its own to take an 18-11 lead and force a UVM timeout. Out of the break, Cam Ward drilled a three-pointer to stem the tide and keep his team within striking distance. Bell-Haynes tied the game at 29 late in the half and Duncan drilled the second if his four trifectas to tie it at 33 but Nevada went into the locker room with a 37-35 advantage.
Vermont started the second half ice-cold from the field going 1-for-10 over the first seven minutes allowing Nevada to take control and take its first double-digit lead (48-37). Duncan connected on another attempt from long range to cut the lead to 52-45 with 11:19 remaining and a pair of Bell-Haynes free throws trimmed the deficit to six just about a minute later.
That’s as close as the Cats would get, however, as Oliver took over for the Wolf Pack. The freshman forward scored 18 of his 23 after halftime and delivered two electric finishes on alley-oop passes from Coleman, the latter of which put Nevada up 81-64 with 2:43 to go.
Vermont set a program record playing its 37th game of the season on Wednesday and the 23 wins marks just the sixth time in program history with at least that many. Ethan O’Day played his final game in the Green and Gold and will finish his career as just the eighth player in program history with at least 1,200 points and 600 rebounds.