Hoop Cats Rally to Beat Lowell

BURLINGTON, Vt. The UVM men's basketball team guaranteed itself with at least one home playoff game and a top-four seed in the upcoming America East Tournament with an 81-69 win over UMass Lowell on Sunday afternoon. Vermont improves to 21-5 on the year and sit atop the league standings at 11-0. UMass Lowell falls to 9-15 overall and 3-8 in conference play.

The Green and Gold extended their record-setting regular season America East winning streak to 32 games, reached the win column for the 21st straight time at Patrick Gym, and notched their 14th consecutive overall victory.

Trae Bell-Haynes recorded his sixth 20-point effort in conference play with a game-high 27 points. The senior point guard was 8-of-13 from the floor including 11-of-13 at the charity stripe. Everett Duncan set a new career high with 13 points and matched his highest single game total with four triples. Drew Urquhart and Cam Ward followed with 13 points apiece as well. Urquhart was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field with six boards. Ward also grabbed six rebounds and tallied three steals.

Jahad Thomas, the conference's leading scorer, guided the River Hawks with 23 points on 8-of-21 shooting. Matt Harris finished with 10 points and made a pair from beyond the arc. Obadiah Noel rounded out three UMass Lowell players in double figures with 10 points.

The Catamounts made their first three shot attempts to open the game but the Rivers Hawks started to heat up from three-point land. UMass Lowell jumped out to a 25-14 lead after mounting a 22-7 run, including four triples, in a seven-minute stretch. Vermont countered with a 23-12 run of its own and tied the game at 37-37 with three minutes left in the period. After knotting things up, the Cats proceeded to score seven of the half's final eight points for a 44-38 advantage at recess.

UVM carried its momentum into the second half with a 14-4 surge in the first six minutes. The Cats kept their lead above double figures for most of the period and shot 60.0% (12-for-20) in the process. The Green and Gold also out-rebounded UMass Lowell 14-10 and held the River Hawks to 12.5% (1-for-8) from long distance in the final frame.

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 97 wins and $9,700.

Vermont will continue its four-game homestand with a visit from twin state rival New Hampshire on Thursday (Feb. 15). The opening tip is set for 7 p.m. The contest is also UVM's annual 'Rally Against Cancer' game, presented by Otter Creek Awnings and Vermont Custom Closets. The Catamounts will don pink jerseys to show support and fans are encouraged to wear pink as well.

Single game tickets are available for purchase at UVMathletics.com/Tickets or at the Patrick Gymnasium Box Office on gameday. Fans can watch the America East matchup on ESPN3 and the watchESPN app by logging in with your television provider. All Vermont regular season games can be heard on 101.3 ESPN FM and online at 1013ESPN.com with Sam Hyman on the call.

Courtesy: UVM Athletics