Friday, March 17th
The UVM men's basketball team fell just short of their upset bid of Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday night in Milwaukee. Our Scott Fleishman was with the Cats all week and was at the Bradley Center for the 80-70 Purdue win. He takes a look back at a special season, and a look ahead as well.
It's a feeling this team hasn't had since December 21st. But this was more than just a loss to Purdue, it was an end. An end to a season that saw UVM go 16-0 in conference, rip off 21 straight wins and a program best 29 victories.
"Practices to every win you know, it was fun.", says guard Ernie Duncan. "Once the pain kind of settles away we'll definitely look back and be happy at what we accomplished."
It's an end to the careers of Dre Wills and Darren Payen.
"I'll probably think it was a great year.", says Wills. "We've done things that no other team in our conference has done, so it's really special from that standpoint."
"It's everything I could've ever wanted.", added Payen. "The result wasn't in our favor for this game. Just getting here, being able to end my Senior year here is everything I could've asked for."
Senior Kurt Steidl's end came prematurely, leaving the game with a knee injury suffered late in the first half.
"It's just devastating.", said head coach John Becker. "A kid like Kurt that means so much to this program that works so hard and just all the sacrifices he's made in his career to get to this tournament, he's devastated and for that I hurt for him.
But where there's an end there's always a new beginning. The Cats will begin next season with more lofty goals and Anthony Lamb back in Green and Gold.
"Definitely. I'm definitely going to stay here.", says Lamb, the America East rookie of the year. "I love everybody here and I love the atmosphere that everybody presents and the fan base is unbelievable. I just couldn't leave these guys ever."
That statement should give everyone in Catamount Country a good feeling.
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