Men’s Hoop: Albany Leads Wire to Wire, Tops Vermont 69-57

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

BURLINGTON – Mike Rowley scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Albany Great Danes handed the Vermont men’s basketball team its first home loss of the season Saturday afternoon, 69-57, in front of 2,392 fans at Patrick Gym.

Vermont’s three-game win streak is no longer and the Cats slip to 9-8 overall and 1-1 in America East play. Albany, meanwhile, improves to 13-4 and 2-0 in league action.

Trae Bell-Haynes and Kurt Steidl combined for 37 points of Vermont’s 57 points as both continued their steady play. Bell-Haynes finished with 19 points, four rebounds and four assists while Steidl wrapped up the afternoon scoring 18, one shy of his career-high.

Rowley shot 7-of-9 from the floor for Albany as the Great Danes controlled the paint outscoring Vermont 38-28 in the lane. Joe Cremo and Evan Singletary both found their way into double figures chipping in with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

It was tough sledding offensively for the Catamounts in the first half as the packed-in Albany defense held Vermont at bay. Albany limited the Cats to just two points in the first seven minutes of the game and built an early 10-2 lead.

Cam Ward gave the Cats a nice punch off the bench scoring four straight points to cut the lead to four but a Ray Sanders layup at the 9:03 mark gave Albany its first double-digit lead of the game. The Danes led by as many as 14 in the first half and a slashing move the bucket by Evan Singletary in the waning seconds sent the defending America East champions to the locker room with a 12-point halftime lead.

The Catamounts shot 8-for-27 in the first 20 minutes and were outscored in the paint, 20-8.

The Albany lead hovered around ten for the first nine minutes of the second half before UVM showed its most promising stretch of the game. Ernie Duncan went coast-to-coast following a steal and then Ward found O’Day slicing to the rim for a bucket that cut the Albany lead to six, 46-40, with 10:10 to play.

From there, Albany found an answer and the lead was back to 12 just three minutes later. Greg Stire stuck back a loose ball on the third shot of an Albany possession and then two straight Catamount turnovers led to a Peter Hooley layup and another Stire put back after a another string of offensive rebounds. The Great Danes led 52-40 at the 7:42 mark.

Vermont would get as close as eight on just one other occasion but Albany executed well down the stretch and iced its wire-to-wire win from the free throw line.

This is the first time UVM has lost two straight home games to league opponents since the 2007-2008 season.

Vermont will have the next week off to prepare for a trip to Hartford to take on the Hawks on Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. Fans can see all the action from the Chase Family Arena on AmericaEast.TV and can also tune into ESPN 101.3 FM for the radio broadcast with AJ Kanell on the call.

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