Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BURLINGTON – The Vermont men’s basketball team closed out the 2015 calendar year in style staying unbeaten at home and taking down MAAC rival Siena at Patrick Gym, 73-64. Vermont improves to 5-0 at home and 7-7 overall while Siena slips to 8-5 with the loss.
For the second straight season, Trae Bell-Haynes torched Siena in the second half as he scored 17 of his game-high 19 points after halftime. Bell-Haynes also dished out five assists on the afternoon. Kurt Steidl scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half as well to go along with five boards. Ernie Duncan (10 points) and Drew Urquhart (11 points) also reached double figures for the Catamounts.
Ethan O’Day dominated the paint, especially in the second half, finishing with eight rebounds and five blocked shots. Vermont swatted away nine shots as a team and held Siena to 34.8% shooting for the game.
Lavon Long registered a double-double for Siena with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
After a sloppy first five minutes for both teams, Siena jumped out to a 12-5 lead at the 14:56 mark when Brett Bisping grabbed an offensive board and laid in the putback. From there, however, Vermont went on a 19-5 run to take a 24-17 lead with 8:44 left in the half. Duncan, Steidl and Cam Ward all drilled three-pointers during that run and it was capped off by Ward’s bank-in trifecta.
Siena Quickly answered back, using the three-ball to its advantage. Kinnon LaRose buried a pair from beyond the arc and Ryan Oliver canned one of his own during a 14-0 stretch for Siena that vaulted the Saints back in front, 33-25 with 2:41 to play.
Duncan pulled the Cats back to within three at the break after his back-to-back pull-up jumpers and then he sent a fastball slicing through the Siena 1-3-1 zone to Darren Payen for a monstrous jam. Vermont trailed 36-33 at the half.
Vermont turned up the intensity defensively in the second half and took a 44-43 lead at the 14:31 mark when Steidl buried a three-pointer curling off a screen. Siena answered quickly with four straight points on jumpers from Oliver and Kenny Wormley.
The two sides went blow-for-blow over the next ten minutes and found themselves tied at 56 with 6:34 to play. That’s when Bell-Haynes took over and keyed a 16-6 Vermont run to close the game. The sophomore hit a triple to ignite a stretch of seven straight Catamount points, all of which he scored, to put UVM up by eight with two minutes to play.
The post-holiday slate continues for Vermont in its first game of 2016 on Sunday against Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. Tipoff against the Crimson is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be seen by a national audience on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Fans can also listen to the game on ESPN 101.3 FM with AJ Kanell on the call.