Vermont just showed us why they’re AEC top dogs!
The kings of the America East Conference secured their 12th straight win and 26th straight conference win, at the expense of the 2nd ranked UMBC after an 81-53 win.
Part of the record-breaking 4,753 in attendance was UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski to celebrate what was the opening of the new $85 million dollar Event Center.
The Retrievers had the Catamounts on their heels early as they started off the game swinging leading 4-0, one of their ONLY two leads in the game. Of course, I’m being sarcastic as Vermont came back scoring 15 straight.
The first half was the half UMBC came to play. The Retrievers matched up pretty well, the team was able to adjust as necessary, the 3-2 defense was executed perfectly and they closed off the half just down 7. The Retrievers defense in the first half was nothing to be proud of, the Retrievers allowed 39 points but it was their presence on offense kept them in stride with the Catamounts.
But the second half, on the other hand, was a complete breakdown offensively for the Retrievers. The Retrievers scored less and allowed more in the half, a recipe for disaster in any sport.
Besides Jairus Lyles and K.J. Maura, no Retriever was able to get it done offensively. UMBC’s big men were completely nonexistent. It’s as if their alarms didn’t ring this morning. Arkel Lamar, Daniel Akin, and Joe Sherburne combined for 6 points on 2-12 shooting, that’s an embarrassing 17%. And it’s not as if they had an Andre Roberson type of game either.
What do I mean by that?
It’s not as if they played good enough defense to excuse their poor offensive effort.
Sherburne and Lamar in 27 and 28 minutes of action gave up 18 points to Drew Urquhart & 16 points to Payton Henson. Besides the fact that these two combined for 34 points, which by the way is 43% of Vermont’s total points, what’s more intriguing is the fashion in which they did it. The two big men combined for 74% shooting from the floor! Talk about efficiency huh!
While it was the big men that got it done for the Catamounts, it was the night of the guards for the Retrievers. Lyles continued his excellent level of play at home, scoring 27 points off 56% shooting. Maura also got hot in the second half but had plenty of forced shots towards the end, but still managed 13 points, 2nd most on his team of just 33% shooting.
The Catamounts showed the 4,753 present for the game and their fans back home why they are legit! They finished the game shooting 66%, outrebounding UMBC 30-24 as well as out assisting them 19 to 9!
As undefeated (19-5,9-0)Vermont sits comfortably alone on top of the America East Conference, UMBC(16-9,7-3) sit just one game ahead of Hartford, Albany, and New Hampshire, all of which they face again in the coming weeks before the start of the America East Tournament.
The Retrievers will now travel up north to face New Hampshire, a team they’ve already beaten, next Sunday.