Men’s Hoop: Catamounts Win 4th Straight, Top UMBC in America East Home Opener

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

BURLINGTON – UVM redshirt senior Payton Henson recorded his second career double-double as the Catamounts cruised to a 71-56 win over UMBC on Saturday night in the America East home opener.

Vermont reaches the win column for the fourth straight game, improves to 11-5 on the year, and 2-0 in league play. UMBC falls to 10-7 overall and evens its conference record at 1-1. For the Cats, tonight’s victory marked the 22nd straight win over the Retrievers, 16th consecutive win at Patrick Gym, and head coach John Becker became only the third coach in program history to reach the 150-career win plateau.

Henson earned his double-double on a team-high 16 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Trae Bell-Haynes also reached double figures with 13 points, five boards, and three steals. Ernie Duncanfollowed with an even dozen in the scoring column and the redshirt junior grabbed a pair of rebounds. Stef Smith posted eight points while Everett Duncan tallied seven points and gathered four offensive boards.

UMBC’s K.J. Maura scored a game-high 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, but UVM’s defense held Maura to only four points in the second half. Arkel Lamar added 15 points on five triples and notched six rebounds. Jairus Lyles came into the night ranked near the top-25 nationally with a 21.2 scoring average, but the Cats held the graduate senior to only eight points on 2-of-12 shooting. Lyles failed to score double digits for only the fifth time in his UMBC career.

The two rivals traded three-pointers until the Catamounts began to break free near the midway point of the first half. Former high school teammates Bell-Haynes and Smith scored six quick points and sparked a 22-9 run over an eight-minute stretch as UVM held a 42-28 advantage at the 2:35 mark. After each team added one more field goal to its total, the Green and Gold went into the locker room leading 44-31.

The second half did not see its first field goal until the 14:42 mark with a layup from Lyles. The Retrievers managed to trim UVM’s lead to single digits with 11:25 remaining in the game but the Cats responded with a 20-8 run and built a 20-point advantage with two minutes left on the clock for the conference victory.

With the win, the Cats Win, Community Wins campaign and Vermont Mutual have donated another $100 to the Boys and Girls Club of Burlington, bringing this year’s total to 64 wins and $6,400 donated.

Vermont will travel to twin state rival Dartmouth on Wednesday (Jan. 10) in the non-conference finale. The opening tip is set for 7 p.m. Tickets are available at Fans can watch the contest on the Ivy League Network with a pay-per-view subscription. All Vermont regular season games can be heard on 101.3 ESPN FM and online at with Sam Hyman on the call.