Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON – The top-seeded Vermont Catamounts had three seniors score double figures in a 70-51 win over Stony Brook in the America East Semifinal on Tuesday night. UVM advances to its third straight title game appearance and fifth in the last seven seasons.
Vermont improves to 27-6 overall on the year while Stony Brook ends the season with a 13-19 record. The Cats cashed in at the charity stripe with a season-high 29 free throws while the defensive unit held the Seawolves to 33.3% (19-for-57) shooting in the contest.
Drew Urquhart racked up a game-high 19 points, with 18 coming in the second half, and grabbed eight rebounds. The senior was 4-of-9 from the floor and made 11-of-15 attempts at the line. Payton Henson followed with 13 points, five boards, and two blocks. Henson hit 5-of-9 attempts from the field, including 3-of-4 from long distance. Cam Ward added 12 points and three assists off the bench.
Stony Brook also had three players score double digits. Akwasi Yeboah tallied 15 points in the scoring column, collected five boards, and dished out a pair of assists. Elijah Olaniyi, the America East Rookie of the Year, had 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting and four rebounds. McKenzie Jordan rounded out the scoring attack with 13 points.
The two defenses were on point to start the game as the score was only 4-2 in favor of the Catamounts by the 16-minute media timeout. After the score was deadlocked at 5-5 a minute later, UVM gained some breathing room with an 11-3 run and went up 16-8 in a five-minute span. The Seawolves came back and trimmed the deficit to 20-15 at the 4:39 mark, but the Cats closed the period with an 11-6 run and went into the locker room leading 30-21.
The Seawolves opened the second half with a quick five-point spurt but the Green and Gold quickly pushed their advantage back to double digits. Leading 34-28 two minutes into the final frame, Vermont pulled away from Stony Brook with a 24-9 outburst over the next 12 minutes. UVM’s defense kept the lead above a 15-point margin for the remainder of the game.
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 111 wins and $11,100.
Top-seeded Vermont will host No. 2 seed UMBC in the America East Championship Game on Saturday (March 10). The opening tip is set for 11 a.m. The conference title game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 and the watchESPN app by logging in with your television provider. All Vermont games can be heard on 101.3 ESPN FM and online at 1013ESPN.com with Sam Hyman on the call. UVM Athletics will host a Fan Fest from 9:30-10:30 a.m. in the indoor turf facility at Patrick Gym prior to the contest.