Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON – The Catamounts used a balanced scoring attack to grind out a 71-56 win over twin state rival New Hampshire on Thursday night. Vermont improves to 22-5 overall and stays unbeaten at 12-0 in the conference standings. UNH falls to 10-17 on the year and drops to 6-7 in league play.
The Green and Gold extended their regular season America East winning streak to 33 games, reached the win column for the 22nd straight time at Patrick Gym, and have strung together 15 consecutive victories.
Vermont had three players reach double figures behind a game-high 14 points from Cam Ward. The senior set a season high with seven rebounds and dished out a pair of assists. Everett Duncan and Drew Urquhart followed with 13 points apiece. Duncan matched a career high, set last time out against UMass Lowell, on a perfect 3-for-3 night from long range and made all four attempts at the charity stripe. Urquhart approached a double-double with a team-high eight rebounds.
UNH had two players tally an even dozen in the scoring column. Tanner Leissner scored 12 points on 4-of-18 shooting and gathered six boards. John Ogwuche added 12 points with seven rebounds and hit a pair of triples.
The two rivals played a tight first half as neither squad held a lead larger than four points. UVM shot 40.0% (10-for-25) in the first period and UNH was right behind at 37.5% (12-for-32) as the teams went into the locker room deadlocked at 33-33.
The second half started much like the first half until the Wildcats built a five-point advantage by the 15:25 mark. The Catamounts were forced to play catch up but finally got over the hump after Ward drained a three-pointer from the top of the arc with 13 minutes and change left on the clock. After each side traded free throws, UVM’s defense turned up the intensity and held UNH without a field goal for nearly eight minutes. On the offensive end, the Cats ripped off a 20-6 run and gained separation with a 68-53 lead with two and a half minutes left in the game. In the final frame, the Green and Gold held the Navy and White to 27.6% (8-for-29) from the floor.
The game was also UVM’s annual ‘Rally Against Cancer’ game, presented by Otter Creek Awnings and Vermont Custom Closets. The Catamounts’ game-worn pink jerseys will be auctioned off at UVMathletics.com/Auctions.
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 98 wins and $9,800.
Vermont will play the third game of a four-game homestand against Hartford on Sunday (Feb. 18). The opening tip is set for 2 p.m. Single game tickets are available for purchase at UVMathletics.com/Tickets or at the Patrick Gymnasium Box Office on gameday. Fans can watch the America East matchup on ESPN3 and 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 1013ESPN.com with Sam Hyman on the call.