Hoopcats Blow Second Half Lead to Albany in Second Straight Loss

Great Danes ride 16-0 run to shocking 63-62 victory
Published: Jan. 3, 2021 at 11:00 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - For the second straight contest, the UVM Men’s Basketball team watched a double-digit second half lead slip away in a devastating 63-62 loss to Albany Saturday night at Patrick Gym. It’s the Cats’ first loss to Albany in nearly five years and drops Vermont to 2-3 on the season.

Vermont was able to build its big lead mostly on the back of junior forward Ryan Davis. The Schaumburg, Illinois native posted 17 first half points as the Catamounts built leads as big as 18 before entering the half up 38-22.

But in the second half, the offense disappeared. Albany clawed their way back within single digits, and after an Isaiah Powell three that put Vermont up 52-40, the Cats went the next 7:54 without scoring a single point.

Led by C.J. Kelly, the Danes went on a 16-0 run over that nearly eight minute span, eventually taking a four-point lead. Kelly would finish with a game high 27 points.

UVM fought their way back in it, with Ben Shungu scoring six of Vermont’s eight points over the final four minutes. But the senior guard also missed the first of two crucial free throws that would have tied the game with less than ten seconds remaining.

The Cats did catch a huge break: they fouled Jamal Horton with seven seconds left, and he would miss both ensuing free throws to give UVM a chance to win the game. But after initially throwing the ball away on the inbound and ending up with the ball back in his hands following a scrum, Powell missed a runner off the glass and rim at the buzzer for the final 63-62 margin. Powell finished with 13 points on the contest.

With the loss, Vermont is now 2-3 in America East play on the season, making this the first time since 2015-16 that they have dropped more than two conference games in the entire regular season and America East Tournament combined.

The Cats won’t have any time to lick their wounds, as they return to the court against this same Albany team Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m.

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