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Finale Fireworks

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Nate Sikma drained a 3-pointer from the baseline corner at the buzzer to lift the Hartford Hawks to a 61-58 victory over Vermont at UVM's Patrick Gymnasium on "Senior Day".
 
Vermont, which clinched the No. 2 seed in the upcoming America East Tournament prior to today's game, finishes the regular season with a record of 19-10 overall and an 11-5 mark in league play.  Hartford, which was fighting for the No. 3 seed, earned that spot with the win and a loss by Albany at Stony Brook today.  The Hawks move to 17-12 on the year and 10-6 in conference play.
 
The Hawks went 12-for-29, (48%) from beyond the arc in the game.  Sikma scored 15 points, all from 3-point range (4-for-7), and Yolonzo Moore II added a game-high 16 points, behind an 8-for-10 effort from the free throw line to lead Hartford.
 
Senior Trey Blue, who earned his eighth straight start on "Senior Day", scored a team-high 12 points in 16 minutes of action.  Luke Apfeld chipped in 10 points and five rebounds and Brian Voelkel added seven points and 10 rebounds.
 
Vermont trailed by eight with 9:02 remaining in the game when Apfeld rattled off seven straight points to bring UVM back to within one, 51-50 at the 7:23 mark.  Hartford pushed its lead back to seven, 57-50, with six straight points with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
 
Sandro Carissimo made a pair of free throws with 2:26 remaining to slice the Hartford lead to three, but Moore made one of two from the line to give Hartford a 58-54 edge with 1:36 left.  Blue was fouled on next Vermont possession and made both free throws to cut Hartford's lead at two, 58-56, with 1:25 showing on the clock.
 
The Hawks missed a shot on their next possession and following a UVM timeout, Apfeld tipped in a missed layup from Blue to knot the game up 58-58 with 33 seconds remaining.
 
Hartford worked the clock down to 12 seconds remaining and called a timeout.  Out of the break, Sikma was able to get free in the corner and sink the game-winning basket.
 
Hartford led 12-6 at the 12:10 mark of the first half, but the Catamounts reeled the Hawks in with a 10-4 run.  Voelkel converted a traditional 3-point play to tie the game up 16-16 with 8:29 left in the half.  The next eight minutes featured six ties and seven lead changes and neither team built more than a three-point advantage.  Blue made a 3-pointer with 1:01 left in the half to give Vermont a 32-31 edge heading into halftime.
 
The Catamounts shot 50 percent from the floor for the third straight game and dominated the Hawks on the boards, out rebounding them 34-14.
 
Up next for the Catamounts, the defending America East Tournament Champion, is the America East Men's and Women's Basketball Championships hosted by the University at Albany at SEFCU Arena. 
 
Vermont is the No. 2 seed and will face No. 7 New Hampshire at 12 p.m. on Saturday (March 9). UVM swept the Wildcats during the regular season, winning 64-51 in Durham in the America East opener and also posting a 63-48 victory over UNH at Patrick Gymnasium.

Courtesy:  UVM Athletic Department

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