Men’s Hoop: Catamounts Roll Over Niagara

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Trae Bell-Haynes scored 20 of his career-high 28 points in the second half to lead the Vermont men’s basketball team to an 85-67 win over Niagara in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament at the Mohegan Sun Arena Saturday night. The Catamounts shot 52.7-percent from the floor and hit 19-of-21 free throws to climb to 2-2 on the young season.
“Ernie [Duncan] made a couple big shots with the shot clock running down which was huge and Trae [Bell-Haynes] with a career-high 28 points did a great job getting to the rim – those two did a great job in the second half and led us to victory,” Cioffi Endowed Men’s Basketball Coach John Becker said.

In the second straight game Bell Haynes has scored 20-plus points, the sophomore speedster went 8-of-13 from the floor and 11-of-12 from the line to go along with five rebounds and four assists.

Ernie Duncan scored all 14 of his points in the second half going four-of-five from beyond the arc. He also dished out 5 assists in the win. The Nutmeg State trio of Darren Payen, Ethan O’Day and Kurt Steidl also scored in double figures in their home state of Connecticut.

Matt Scott and Emile Blackman both scored 18 points to lead Niagara (1-3)

UVM got out to a great start beginning the game on a 22-5 run to take a commanding 17-point lead with just over eight minutes gone in the first half. Niagara would not go quietly, however, as the Purple Eagles chipped away at the deficit and got it to within one when Blackman drilled a fadeaway 3-pointer at the half-time buzzer. The Cats clung to a 36-35 lead heading to the locker room.

O’Day led UVM with 10 points at the break.

Vermont started the second half much like the first and pushed the lead back out to nine on a Bell-Haynes slashing move to the cup at the 15:52 mark. Niagara would get as close as five thanks to a Domininc Robb jump hook with 10:02 to go but it was all Catamounts from there. Steidl made a nice drive to the bucket and then Duncan drilled his fourth 3-pointer of the half to make it 65-55 with 8:05 left. Bell-Haynes made 10 free throws of the last six minutes of the game to put it on ice.

The Catamounts return to action tomorrow with a game against either Buffalo or North Carolina A&T at 8 p.m. in the title game of the Springfield Bracket. The game can be seen on ESPN3 or the WatchESPN App and can be heard locally on ESPN 101.3 ESPN with coverage starting at 7:30.

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