Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON – After letting a 13 point halftime lead slip away Vermont overcame a seven-point deficit of its own in the final two minutes with a game-tying layup from junior guard Trae Bell-Haynes with 42 seconds remaining. But the Catamounts could not finish the deal, falling to former America East rival Northeastern on Saturday afternoon 59-57 at Patrick Gym.
The defeat drops Vermont to 7-4 overall and snaps a nine-game home winning streak dating back to last season. With the win, Northeastern gets back to .500 with a 5-5 record and also played in its ninth consecutive game where the outcome was decided by single digits.
The Catamounts had three players reach double figures as Bell-Haynes scored a team-high 15 points and dished out five assists. Payton Henson added 13 points and four rebounds while Kurt Steidl followed with 11 points, seven rebounds, and four steals.
Northeastern’s offense came from the tandem of Alex Murphy and T.J. Williams as the pair combined for 38 of the Huskies’ 59 points. Murphy notched a game-high 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting and finished the afternoon with nine rebounds. Williams, the 14th-best scorer in the country, contributed 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting and recorded three assists.
Steidl had the three-ball working in the first half by draining three of his first four attempts in the opening 10 minutes. UVM’s tenacious defense caused nine Northeastern turnovers at the midway point of the first half as the Cats enjoyed a 19-12 advantage.
Williams helped the Huskies climb back into the game with a pair of layups and Murphy added a layup of his own to draw within 19-18 at the 6:21 mark.
Bell-Haynes and Josh Hearlihy scored five points apiece down the stretch as the Cats closed out the half on a 12-0 run for a 31-18 lead at the break.
The Huskies opened the second half on a 15-8 run in a 6:27 span and cut UVM’s lead down to 39-33. After Vermont scored six of the game’s next eight points, Northeastern manufactured a 19-2 run and built a seven-point lead with two and a half minutes remaining.
UVM mounted a final minute comeback behind a combined nine points from Bell-Haynes and Henson, including Bell-Haynes’ game-tying layup with 42 seconds left. After Northeastern made a layup with 25 ticks remaining on the clock, Bell-Haynes drove into the paint and drew a foul that sent him to the line. After hitting the second of two free throws, the Toronto, Ontario native got a steal on the ensuing in-bounds pass but the green and gold could not get a potential game-winning layup attempt to fall.
Murphy came down with the rebound for the Huskies and the Cats were forced to foul with six seconds to go. The graduate student made the second of two free throws to give Northeastern the final margin of victory.
Vermont caps off the three-game home stand next weekend on Saturday (Dec. 17) with a visit from Eastern Michigan at 1 p.m. Single game tickets can be purchased at UVMathletics.com/Tickets or at the Patrick Gym Box Office on gameday. The game can be seen live for free in HD via AmericaEast.TV.