Hoop Cats Rally Past Maine in America East Quarterfinals

BURLINGTON, Vt. Top-seeded Vermont will be making its 16th trip to the semifinal round of the America East Tournament in the last 17 years after holding off eighth-seeded Maine 75-60 on Saturday night in the America East Quarterfinal.

Vermont improves to 26-6 on the year while Maine closes the books on a 6-26 season. The Catamounts earned a pair of career milestones in the win – Trae Bell-Haynes became only the seventh UVM player to score over 1,600 career points and Cam Ward set the school record with his 138th career game played.

Bell-Haynes poured in a game-high 20 points. The senior hit three triples, handed out four assists, and collected three rebounds. Payton Henson matched his senior teammate with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Drew Urquhart recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and gathered a game-high 12 boards.

Maine's Isaiah White tallied a team-high 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting and knocked down a pair from beyond the arc. Aaron Calixte added 11 points, all in the first half, and dealt four assists.

The Black Bears used the deep ball to jump out to a 12-4 lead in the first three minutes of the game. Ilija Stojiljkovic hit a pair in front of UVM's bench and Calixte added another one from the top of the arc for the early advantage. The Catamounts regrouped and tied the game at 12-12 with eight unanswered points.

The Cats and Black Bears went back-and-forth, including 11 lead changes and seven ties, for most of the period. As Maine held a slim 33-32 lead with 1:19 left before the recess, Henson kissed a layup off the window and Bell-Haynes made a pair at the charity stripe in the final second to give UVM a 36-33 advantage at the break.

Vermont wasted very little time stretching its lead to double digits in the second half. The Cats went on a 14-4 run in a 5:25 stretch. The Black Bears trimmed the deficit to single digits at the midway point but the Catamounts responded and put the game away. UVM mounted a 21-9 run and built a 19-point advantage, its largest of the night, over the ensuing nine minutes.

With the victory, the Cats Win, Community Wins campaign and Vermont Mutual Insurance Group will donate another $100 to the Boys and Girls Club of Burlington, bringing this year's total to 110 wins and $11,000.

Top-seeded Vermont will face fifth-seeded Stony Brook in the semifinal round of the America East Tournament on Tuesday (March 6). The opening tip is set for 7 p.m. on the hardwood of Patrick Gym. The matchup will be streamed live on ESPN3 and the watchESPN app by logging in with your television provider.

Courtesy: UVM Athletics