NEW YORK (WCAX) The UVM men's basketball team hadn't beaten a power conference (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac 12) opponent in ten years. The Cats hadn't beaten a current member of the Big East since 1924. And Vermont hadn't started a season 4-0 since 1977. All of that changed Saturday afternoon on senior forward Anthony Lamb's last minute jumper, as the Catamounts downed St. John's 70-68 at Carnesecca Arena.
Vermont had staked out to a 26-20 lead late in the first half, with a breakaway dunk by Ryan Davis and a corner triple from Everett Duncan providing the Cats a boost. But the Johnnies rallied, Rasheem Dunn hit a buzzer-beating jumper to cap an 11-0 run, and the hosts took a 31-26 lead to the locker room.
But UVM looked like a different team in the second half, and Lamb looked like a completely different player after a rough opening 20 minutes. The senior forward from Rochester scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half, and with the help of 17 points each from Everett Duncan and Stef Smith, Vermont build a double digit lead with under seven minutes to play.
But the talented Big East opposition rallied yet again to make Vermont sweat. St. John's used a full-court press to create chaos, outscored the Cats 22-12 over the next six-plus minutes, and tied the game on a long three from Dunn with just 19.3 seconds to play.
Their double-digit advantage gone, the Cats unsurprisingly looked to their star to secure the win. Lamb drove from the wing, pulled up in the paint, and drained a jumper near the free throw line with 2.4 seconds remaining to put UVM back in front.
St. John's had the chance to tie or take the lead, but TJ Figueroa stepped out of bounds on the ensuing possession to seal the deal.
The now 4-0 Catamounts face an even bigger test this week as they travel to face defending National Champion and ninth-ranked Virginia. WCAX will have live coverage from Charlottesville Tuesday evening leading up to tip-off of that game.