Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Lamonte Bearden scored a game-high 20 points to lead Buffalo to a 77-71 win over the Vermont men’s basketball team on Sunday night as part of the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Trae Bell-Haynes paced the Catamounts with 15 points as they fall to 2-3 on the young season.
Ernie Duncan, Kurt Steidl and Cam Ward all joined Ball-Haynes in double figures in the contest. Duncan connected on four-of-six from downtown and finished with 14 points while Steidl and Ward chipped in with 10 and 11 points, respectively.
Blake Hamilton and Will Conner each poured in 14 points for the Bulls to carry the load with Bearden.
For the second straight game, Vermont jumped out to a first-half lead only to see its opponent claw back into the game. The Cats led by as many as eight in the first half and built that lead thanks to triples from Steidl and Duncan. Buffalo never went away, though, and closed the half on a Nick Perkins bucket that cut the UVM lead to one, 30-29.
Out of the break, Buffalo became the aggressor scoring the first five points of the half to take a 34-30 lead at the 18:30 mark. UVM stormed back and took a two-point lead after a pair of Ward free throws with 13:45 to play.
Despite shooting just 8-of-23 from deep, Buffalo hit some big shots in a key stretch midway through the half to build an eight-point lead, 56-48. The Cats once again answered the call and tied the game at 57 with 6:12 to play when Ward found Darren Payen for a huge dunk.
Several careless Vermont turnovers allowed Buffalo to extend the lead once more and the Bulls went 19-of-22 from the line in the second half to seal the win.
The Catamounts return to action on Wednesday afternoon in the Sunshine State when they take on the University of Florida in Gainesville. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. and all the action can be seen on the SEC Network. A.J. Kanell will have the call locally on ESPN 101.3 FM.