Men’s Hoops: Big Second Half Carries Catamounts Past UMBC 81-53

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

CATONSVILLE, Md.  –  UMBC unveiled its brand new 5,000-seat Event Center, but Vermont earned the first win on the new floor with an 81-53 victory on Saturday. The Catamounts shot an impressive 65.9% (29-for-44) from the floor to reach the win column for the 12th straight time.

UVM improves to 19-5 overall and 9-0 in league play. UMBC drops to 16-9 and 7-3 in conference play. The Green and Gold also won their 23rd consecutive game against the Retrievers and extended their regular season conference winning streak to 30 games.

Drew Urquhart scored a team-high 18 points to lead three Catamounts in double figures. Urquhart was 8-of-10 from the field with eight rebounds and four assists. Payton Henson followed with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and matched Urquhart with eight boards and four assists. Trae Bell-Haynes also netted 16 points and recorded a pair of steals.

Jairus Lyles notched a game-high 27 points for the Retrievers. Lyles shot 10-of-18 from the floor and knocked down four triples. K.J. Maura added 14 points, four steals, and three assists.

Vermont wasted very little time building a big lead. The Cats jumped out to an 15-4 lead in the opening six minutes of the game but the Retrievers clawed back with an 11-0 run and tied the score at the 12-minute mark. The two rivals traded buckets for most of the period until UVM mounted a 16-6 run the final five minutes and went into the locker room leading 39-32.

The second half belonged to the Catamounts. The Green and Gold’s defensive intensity held UMBC to only 21 points in the period and 32.1% (9-for-28) shooting. After the Retrievers cut the deficit to 43-38 at the 16:22 mark, UVM blew the game open and closed out the game on 38-15 run.

With the victory, the Cats Win, Community Wins campaign and Vermont Mutual Insurance Group will donate another $100 to the Boys and Girls Club of Burlington, bringing this year’s total to 89 wins and $8,900.

Vermont will wrap up its three-game road trip at Albany on Thursday (Feb. 8). The opening tip is set for 7 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at Fans can watch the nationally televised America East matchup on ESPNU, ESPN3and the watchESPN app by logging in with your television provider. All Vermont regular season games can be heard on 101.3 ESPN FM and online at with Sam Hyman on the call.