Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON — Vermont (22-7, 12-2 AE) had a chance to win the game in the final seconds but came up short to UMBC (14-14, 7-6 AE) 66-64 on Saturday night. The setback snaps the Catamounts’ 12-game winning streak while the Retrievers extend their overall winning streak to five games.
“It was a tough loss tonight,” Cioffi Men’s Basketball Head Coach John Becker said. “On a night that we had the opportunity to win the regular season title, we just came out flat. UMBC was the hungrier team.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Retrievers hit their first two field goal attempts with a deep jumper from R.J. Eytle-Rock (8 points) and a three-pointer from Brandon Horvath (12 points), but the Cats answered with two triples from Anthony Lamb.
The long-range exchange continued as the conference foes combined for 10 treys in the opening eight minutes. During the shooting spree, the score was deadlocked at 17-17 by the 12-minute media timeout.
The score stayed within one possession until UMBC held a 30-25 lead at the five-minute mark. The Cats drew within a point twice but could not get over the hump before the end of the half as the Retrievers led at the break 36-33.
Facing its first halftime deficit in 20 games, Vermont used 63 seconds of game clock to erase the deficit with a layup and two free throws from Lamb.
The two teams played to a tight score some more but UMBC pushed the lead to 54-49 advantage near the midway point of the frame.
The Cats slowly chipped away and got within one, but the Retrievers padded the margin to 66-59 with 2:31 left on the clock. UVM mounted a comeback with a layup from Stef Smith, then Ben Shungu knocked down a clutch three in front of his own bench.
With two ticks left in the game, Vermont had the ball near midcourt. Anthony Lamb fought off a defender and threw up a potential game-winning triple, but the ball clanked off the side of the rim.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Lamb notched his 10th 20-point outing of the season with a game-high 24 points. He collected six boards and dished out four assists.
Smith scored double digits for the 15th time in the last 17 games with 17 points. He shot 6-of-14 from the floor and hit two attempts from behind the arc.
Ben Shungu added 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting. He pulled down four rebounds and recorded two steals.
Vermont will make its final road trip of the regular season at UMass Lowell on Saturday (Feb. 29). The opening tip is set for 5:30 p.m. at the Tsongas Center. Tickets are available for purchase at GoRiverHawks.com. All of the action can be seen on ESPN+ with a paid subscription. Fans can also listen live on the Vermont Sports Network, from Learfield IMG College, on 101.3 The Game or online at Catamounts All-Access with Jake Marsh on the call.