Saturday, March 3, 2012

Catamounts narrowly escape Black Bears' trap

By Shep Hayes/DFP Staff

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The second-seeded University of Vermont Catamounts came back from an early scare posed to them by the No. 7 University of Maine Black Bears to win 50-40 and advance to the semifinals of the 2012 America East men’s basketball tournament.

Vermont scored only 14 points in the first half, eight less than Maine. The Catamounts made only six of their 25 shots in the first, while the Black Bears went 10-for-30. Maine sophomore forward Alasdair Frasier led all scorers in the first half with eight points. He also had four of the Black Bears 16 first-half rebounds.

Maine only managed to grab one offensive rebound in the first half. Vermont did slightly better, as three of its 22 total first-half rebounds were offensive. However, the Catamounts had 11 first-half turnovers, six more than Maine. The Black Bears were able to score 11 points off of turnovers in the opening frame.

It was the second half, Vermont turned around to put Maine away. The Catamounts erased the turnover differential, handing the ball to the Black Bears only twice while Maine gave it back nine times. Vermont scored 18 second-half points off of turnovers, while limiting the Black Bears to only three in the same category. Maine scored a grand total of 18 points in the second half, while Vermont dropped a more normal 36 to pull away with the 10-point win.

UVM would shoot 10-for-25 in the field in the second, improving to 32.0 percent in the game. As a team, the Catamounts went 4-for-13 from beyond the arc in the second and 12-for-15 at the line.

Vermont senior forward Matt Glass finished as the leading scorer in the game, with 16 points. Sophomore forward Luke Apfeld also contributed 12 points to the Catamounts offense. Brian Voelkel, another Catamount sophomore forward, tallied eight assists and nine rebounds, the game leader in both categories.

The Black Bears saw a slight decrease in field goal percentage in the second half, dropping from 33.3 percent in the first to 30.4 in the second. In the entire game, Maine did not make a single 3-point field goal, finishing 0-for-17 in that category.

Fraser had two more points in the second to compliment his eight from the first. He finished as the Black Bear’s leading scorer. Junior center Mike Allison led Maine in rebounding, with eight boards, all defensive. Senior guard Raheem Singleton had four assists for Maine.

The Catamounts advance to face the winner of the final quarterfinal of the day, between the No. 3 Boston University Terriers and the No. 6 University of Hartford Hawks. The semifinal will tip-off at 7:15 and will be televised online on ESPN3.

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