Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Trailing preseason Ivy League favorite Yale by only three at halftime, the Vermont men’s basketball team went ice cold from the field in the second half and the Bulldogs pulled away for a 72-54 win over the Catamounts in non-conference action Saturday afternoon. With the loss, UVM slips to 4-5 while Yale improves its record to 5-3.
Yale held Vermont to just four points in the first nine minutes of the second half. The Catamounts shot 6-of-29 (20.7%) after halftime as the Bulldogs outscored Vermont 38-23.
Cam Ward scored 16 of his career-high 20 points in the first half. It was the fifth straight game the sophomore guard reached double-figures. Senior Ethan O’Day was the only other Catamount in double-figures finishing with 10 points and a team-high five rebounds.
Reigning Ivy League Player of the Year Justin Sears recorded a double-double for the Bulldogs scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 boards. Jack Montague also pumped in 17 while Makai Mason added 16.
After Dre Wills got the Catamounts on the board with a running hook shot in the lane, Yale went on a 10-0 run to take command early in the game. UVM battled back to within one at the 10:46 mark after a Cam Ward old fashion three-point play. Vermont took its first lead of the afternoon thanks to four straight points from O’Day. The senior threw down an emphatic put-back dunk and then went to his patented lefty hook shot to put Vermont up 25-24 with 4:50 to go in the half.
Yale closed out the frame strong, however, when Mason found a cutting Brandon Sherrod for a dunk and a three-point Yale lead.
That momentum carried over to start the second half. The Bulldogs went on a 16-3 run highlighted by a pair of Montague 3-pointers to force a Vermont timeout.
Vermont would get as close as 13 when Kurt Steidl hit a trifecta to make it 50-37 but it was all Bulldogs from there. Justin Sears threw one down plus a foul to make it 66-49 and put an exclamation point on the afternoon.
Vermont closes out this three-game road swing with a trip to St. Bonaventure on December 8 for a Tuesday night tilt against the Bonnies at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Time Warner Cable and can be heard locally on ESPN 101.3 FM with AJ Kanell on the call.