Men’s Hoop: Big Second Half Sends Gators Past Catamounts

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Vermont trailed by only five at halftime but Florida outscored the Catamounts 52-33 after the break en route to an 86-62 win in non-conference action at the O’Connell Center Wednesday afternoon. Vermont slips to 2-4 on the season while Florida improves to 4Preseason All-SEC power forward Dorian Finney-Smith led the way for Florida with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists while Devin Robinson paced three other Gators in double figures with 15 points and eight rebounds.

For Vermont, Cam Ward turned in his second-straight solid performance recording his first career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds – both team-highs. Ernie Duncan was right on his average chipping in 13 including three more from downtown and Ethan O’Day came off the bench to score 12 points. Everett Duncan also had a career game, scoring his first UVM points (finished with eight) and collecting eight rebounds.

The Catamounts played a tough first 20 minutes after falling behind 7-0 less than three minutes into the game. Everett Duncan drilled a 3-pointer on an assist from his brother Ernie to make it 9-5 and he cut the lead to four again at 20-16 when he hit his second triple of the day.

Ernie Duncan scored seven of Vermont’s final nine points of the first half and the Catamounts trailed just 34-29 at the break.

Florida took control early in the second half rolling out a 10-0 run forcing a UVM timeout. The Gators extended the lead to as many as 16 with 16:54 to play but Vermont didn’t go quietly. Ward connected on back-to-back 3s to get his team back to within six, 50-44 with 12:53 left.

That’s as close as the Cats would get, however, as Finney-Smith proved dangerous in pick-and-pop actions hitting a pair of long balls – the second of which put Florida up 60-46 at the 10:42 mark.

Josh Speidel once again joined Vermont on the team bench. The NCAA granted UVM a season-long waiver to allow Speidel to sit on the bench whenever he is in attendance.

The Catamounts finally return home on Sunday, Nov. 29 to take on Marist at Patrick Gym. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. All the action can be seen on and heard on ESPN 101.3 FM

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