Tuesday, November 13th
Storrs, Conn. - Shabazz Napier scored a game-high 13 points, all in the second half, to lead No. 23 Connecticut to a 67-49 victory over visiting Vermont in the home opener for the Huskies at Gampel Pavilion on Tuesday.
UConn improves to 2-0 on the year, while the Catamounts even their record at 1-1.
Omar Calhoun added 12 points and R.J. Evans chipped in 11 points off the bench on 5-for-5 shooting. Tyler Olander added nine points, a team-high nine rebounds and four blocks for the Huskies.
Luke Apfeld led the Catamounts with team-highs of nine points and eight rebounds. Freshman Ethan O'Day, who earned his first start in a Vermont uniform, grabbed six rebounds before fouling out and four other Catamounts registered eight points.
"It was another tough offensive night for us, but more disappointing was in the second half defensively we had some slippage as far as what we wanted to do. Credit UConn. They're a great team," said Vermont head coach John Becker. "I'm a Connecticut kid and grew up idolizing this program and what Coach Calhoun has built here. Coach Ollie is doing great job carrying it on."
"They're physical. They're big. They have two special guards. I thought, for the most part, we did a good job on the two main guys there – (Shabazz) Napier and (Ryan) Boatright. I thought (Tyler) Olander really hurt us inside, especially on the offensive glass," continued Becker.
Connecticut jumped out to a 7-2 lead after hitting three of its first four shots to start the game. The Catamounts struggled offensively going 1-for-8 from the field in the opening minutes, but a 3-pointer by Trey Blue at the 12:25 mark gave Vermont a 10-9 lead.
The Catamounts were limited to nine free throws over the next 11 minutes as the Huskies pushed out to an 11-point advantage. A dunk by Clancy Rugg with 10 seconds remaining cut UConn's lead to nine, 32-23, at the break.
Napier scored eight points in the first 5:40 of the second half to help Connecticut extend its lead to 14, 43-29 at the 14:29 mark. Vermont continued to struggle shooting the ball from the floor and a dunk by DeAndre Daniels with 9:39 remaining pushed UConn's lead to 20, 53-34.
The Catamounts chipped away at the lead and climbed back within 12 on a 3-pointer from Apfeld with 4:00 minutes remaining. But the Huskies were able to keep Vermont at a distance and posted its 24th straight victory in home openers at Gampel Pavilion.
Vermont finished the game shooting 30 percent from the floor, but out rebounded the Huskies 39-32 overall and 17-12 on the offensive glass. The Catamounts were also aided by a 16-for-21 effort from the foul line.
Connecticut shot 44.6 percent from the floor and turned 16 UVM turnovers into 23 points.
Vermont returns to action on Saturday (Nov. 17) when it travels to Boston, Mass. to take on Northeastern at 7 p.m. at Matthews Arena.
--- UVM Sports Information
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