Men’s Hoop: Vermont Goes to Cambridge, Beats Harvard 65-62

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Corey Johnson’s desperation 35-foot heave at the buzzer clanked off the side iron and the Vermont men’s basketball team knocked off the Harvard Crimson, 65-62, to close out non-conference play Sunday afternoon at Lavietes Pavilion.

Vermont improves its record to 8-7 – the first mark over .500 this season – while Harvard falls to 6-8. This is the first time the Cats have finished over .500 in non-conference play since 2012-13, the season that also saw Vermont’s last win over the Crimson.

Ethan O’Day emerged from a prolonged scoring slump in a big way finishing wth 16 points and six rebounds. Ernie Duncan collected 14 points, three assists and three boards while Trae Bell-Haynes chipped in with 10 points, five steals and four assists. Drew Urquhart continued to play well snatching 10 misses for his second double-digit rebound game this season.

Agunwa Okolie led Harvard with 16 points while Corbin Miller finished with 15 points – all from beyond the arc – off the bench. Vermont held leading scorer Zena Edosomwan to just eight points.

After Harvard scored the first four points of the game, Vermont answered with an 8-0 stretch over the next five minutes. Bell-Haynes went coast to coast for a layup and then Duncan found Darren Payen for a big dunk before O’Day scored four straight to give Vermont an 8-4 lead.

The Cats led 21-17 with five minutes to play in the first half but Harvard connected on a pair of three-pointers to take a 23-21 lead. Corbin Miller and Corey Johnson each buried a trifecta during that 6-0 spurt.

Vermont closed the half on a 11-4 run of its own to take a 32-27 lead in the locker room at halftime. Duncan drilled his first triple of the game, Kurt Steidl scored on a slashing cut to the rim and O’Day capitalized on a deep post touch with a righty hook to conclude his strong first half.

Harvard erased the five-point Vermont halftime lead quickly to start the second half. The Cats responded, though, and slowly built a 10-point cushion over the next six minutes. Duncan canned a big jumper to put Vermont up 51-41 with 12:11 to play.

The Crimson then used an 8-0 spurt to claw back within two (51-49) when Miller hit another three.

But like all afternoon, Vermont had an answer for every Harvard punch. An 11-2 run followed and was capped off by a Cam Ward finish at the rim to give UVM it’s biggest lead of the day, 62-51 with 5:32 left.

Harvard fought back once more and was within one possession with under 15 seconds to play but Johnson’s aforementioned off-the-mark prayer ensued and Vermont hung on for the win.

With non-conference play now behind them, the Catamounts set their sights on America East play as they venture to Bangor to take on the Maine Black Bears on Wednesday night at the Cross Insurance Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. and fans can catch all the action on AmericaEast.TV and on the local radio dial at ESPN 101.3 FM.

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