Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON, Vt. – Stef Smith matched a career-high with 28 points, but Vermont (10-6, 0-1 AE) suffered an 81-77 loss to Stony Brook (11-6, 2-0 AE) in the conference opener on Wednesday night.
“It was a tough loss tonight and Stony Brook deserves a lot of credit,” Cioffi Men’s Basketball Head Coach John Becker said. “They played better than us, tougher than us, and made plays down the stretch. There’s still a long way to go in conference play but we’re going to get everyone’s best shot every night.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Catamounts opened the game on a 10-2 run, but the Seawolves closed the gap and knotted game at 16-16. Makale Foreman had 10 early points to tie and eventually take a 21-19 lead at the 10-minute mark.
The conference foes exchanged baskets as the lead exchanged hands six different times for the remainder of the period. UVM trailed by as much as four, but closed the opening frame on a 23-14 run. Anthony Lamb hit his third triple of the night at the buzzer to give the Cats a 43-38 advantage at the break.
Foreman tied the game once again for Stony Brook at 46-46 with 14:41 left in the game. UVM clawed back to retake the lead with three pointers from Everett Duncan and Bailey Patella and stretched the lead to 56-52 with 11:19 remaining.
Elijah Olaniyi hit a contested three to put SBU up 63-61 with 8:59 left, its first lead of the second half. Smith and Lamb responded with back-to-back buckets as the Cats held a 72-66 lead with 4:26 left on the clock.
Andrew Garcia tied the game at 74-74 with 2:10 remaining, then Olaniyi gave Stony Brook the decisive go-ahead score with 22 seconds to go.
On Vermont’s final possession, Lamb tried to bank the equalizer off the glass but missed. On the rebound, Ben Shungu jumped up for a tip-in but could not cash in.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Smith was 8-of-13 from the field and shot a perfect 10-for-10 from the line. The junior also dished out two assists.
Lamb had 23 points for his sixth 20-point game of the season. He was 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, pulled in a team-high seven rebounds, and posted a team-best five assists.
Everett Duncan matched Lamb’s rebound total with all seven boards coming on the defensive glass.
Vermont continues conference play against UMBC on Saturday (Jan. 11). The rematch of last year’s America East Championship Game is slated for 1 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase through Ticketmaster.com. The afternoon battle can be seen on ESPN+ with a paid subcription. 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.