Men’s Hoop: Catamounts Stumble in 2nd Half, Bow at Albany 75-71

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

ALBANY, N.Y. – The Vermont men’s basketball team held a one-point lead with under two minutes left but Albany went five-for-six at the free throw line in the final 90 seconds to close out a 75-71 win over the Catamounts Saturday night at SEFCU Arena. Vermont falls to 6-4 in league play and 14-11 overall while Albany moves to 19-6 overall and 8-2 in conference action.

Ernie Duncan posted a new career-high of 23 points to pace a pair of Catamounts in double-figures. Duncan finished shooting 8-of-14 from the field including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. Cam Ward contributed 13 points off the Vermont bench in 23 minutes of action.

Peter Hooley and Evan Singletary both scored 20 points to lead the Great Danes. Singletary did all of his damage in the second half scoring all 20 points after halftime including 8-of-10 from the free throw line.

Albany shot 37 free throws compared to Vermont’s 16 while outrebounding the Catamounts, 38-30.

After trailing for the first ten minutes of the game, Vermont made its move at the 9:06 mark down 21-16. The Catamounts embarked on a 19-5 run over the next seven minutes to quiet a sold-out SEFCU Arena. Trae Bell-Haynes got the Cats cooking with a driving layup over two defenders before Duncan launched and connected on his second 3-pointer.

Duncan and Kurt Steidl then each buried trifectas followed up by four straight points from Dre Wills. Ethan O’Day knocked down a baseline jumper with 2:11 remaining in the half to put his team up 10.

Vermont took the 10-point lead to the locker room but a turnover on the first possession of the second half got Albany rolling to start the stanza. The Danes cut the lead to five at the 17:52 mark on a layup by Hooley before a Ward triple put Vermont back up nine with 16:12 to go.

A Hooley long ball put Albany up 52-49 – its first lead of the second half – with 11:08 remaining. Singletary hit a layup on the ensuing possession, which capped a 23-8 run to start the half for the Great Danes.

Albany remained in control over the next eight minutes taking a 70-63 lead into the game’s final media timeout. Out of the break, however, Bell-Haynes knocked down a pair from the free throw line and Duncan hit another three in semi-transition to cut the lead to two with 2:44 left to play. Ward completed an old-fashioned three-point play out of a timeout to give Vermont a 71-70 lead with 1:50 showing on the clock.

The Great Danes got to the free throw line six times in the final 90 seconds, though, and iced the game with five makes. The Cats had two chances to tie with less than thirty seconds to play but three-pointers from Duncan and Ward didn’t find the mark.

Vermont wraps up this brief two-game road trip on Monday night against UMass Lowell. The 7 p.m. tipoff from the Mill City can be seen on AmericaEast.TV while local radio coverage begins on ESPN 101.3 FM at 6:30 with AJ Kanell calling the action.

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