Senior Clancy Rugg posted game-highs of 19 points and eight rebounds to lead the Vermont Catamounts to a 62-48 win over UMass Lowell in the America East Conference opener for both teams. The game was also the River Hawks' first-ever league contest in men's basketball.
Vermont improves to 1-0 in the conference and 4-7 overall. UMass Lowell falls to 0-1 in the league and 1-10 on the year.
"Great way to start league play with a good road win," said Vermont head coach John Becker. "We played a very good defensive half after intermission. I thought Josh Elbaum gave us a big lift tonight."
The Catamounts trailed, 33-27, at the break but used a strong second half effort to earn their first league win of the season.
Vermont scored the first eight points of the second half to take their first lead of the game, 35-33, since the opening minutes of the contest. The River Hawks out scored UVM 5-2 over the next two minutes to retake a one-point advantage, 38-37, with 15:02 remaining in the game.
Vermont responded with a decisive 23-5 run, fueled by 10 points from Rugg, over the next 13 minutes to break open the game and pull out to a 17-point lead and post the victory.
The River Hawks led 12-4 at the 13:47 mark of the first half, but Vermont answered with a 10-0 run, behind a 4-for-4 effort from the field, to cut the lead to two, 14-12 at the 10:32 mark. UVM trailed by one after a basket by Sandro Carissimo with 4:08 remaining in the half, but the River Hawks stretched their lead to seven with 1:56 left in the stanza, with an 8-2 spurt, and took a 33-27 lead into halftime.
UML shot 54.2 percent from the field to help build its halftime advantage, while Vermont shot 47.4 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes. The Catamounts limited the River Hawks to 19 percent shooting (4-for-21) from the field in the second stanza.
Carissimo finished the game with 14 points and seven rebounds and Luke Apfeld added 12 points to round out the leading scorers for Vermont.
Akeem Williams paced the River Hawks with 16 points and Chad Holley added 11 points.
Vermont continues its swing through the Bay State when it faces Harvard on Saturday (Dec. 21) at 4 p.m. in Cambridge, Mass.
Courtesy: UVM Athletic Department
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