Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON – In his 100th career game, Kurt Steidl poured in 20 points and hauled in 11 rebounds to lead the Vermont men’s basketball team past Western Carolina, 79-74, in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational Wednesday night at Patrick Gym.
Vermont improves to 22-13 on the season while Western Carolina finishes up the campaign with a 16-18 overall record.
Steidl registered his second double-double of the season while shooting just 5-of-11 from the field but 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Trae Bell-Haynes pumped in 16 points – the second straight games he has scored at least 16 – while going 11-of-12 from the charity stripe. In extended minutes off the bench, Everett Duncan chipped in with seven points, eight rebounds and a pair of steals.
Torrion Brummitt led the way for Western Carolina finishing with 20 points and five rebounds. Mike Brown filled the stat sheet for the Catamounts scoring 15 points to go along with eight rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Vermont’s defense was stingy throughout the contest holding its opponent to just 33.8% shooting for the game.
UVM took control about midway through the first half, using an 18-4 run to turn a one-point ball game into a 15-point lead. During that stretch, Vermont shot 8-of-12 from the field and got buckets from five different players including five points from Dylan Sinnickson. The Middlebury transfer finished a drop-off feed from Steidl in the paint and then played pick-and-pop with Cam Ward and drilled a three-pointer.
WCU cut the lead to seven with a 7-0 run of its own but Vermont stretched the lead back to 13 at the half thanks to a bucket in the closing seconds from Nate Rohrer.
Western Carolina stormed out of the locker room and erased the deficit in the first three minutes of the second half. Brummitt scored eight of his 20 during a 15-0 run that tied the game at 39 with 16:43 to play.
Vermont responded, however, with a 10-2 spurt to jump back in front by eight thanks to six points from Drew Urquhart. After WCU trimmed the lead to two with under three minutes to play, Duncan found Steidl in the corner for a wide open trifecta and then Bell-Haynes all but sealed the game with a double-clutch three-pointer as the shot clock expired.
Vermont went 11-of-13 from the line in the final minute to ice the game and advance to the quarterfinals for the second straight season.
Up next for UVM will be a trip to the west coast to take on the Seattle Redhawks. That quarterfinal game will be played Monday, March 21.