Vermont tops men’s basketball to cap nonconference schedule

Vermont trounced men’s basketball Tuesday in the team’s last nonconference game.

The Colonials (6-7) pieced together their lowest point production all season in a 76–51 New Year’s Eve loss to the Catamounts (9-5). The squad netted 16.2 points below its average, shooting 34.4 percent from the field and 25 percent from deep.

“We just didn’t stick to our principles defensively,” head coach Jamion Christian said. “We’ve been one of the best teams in the nation defending the three. We just didn’t do that today. We gave them too many easy opportunities, took gambles at the wrong times. We just weren’t solid enough.”

Senior forward Anthony Lamb, who netted 20 points in the first half, led the Catamounts. He tacked on three more in the second half and finished the game with a floor-leading 23 points.

“We weren’t supposed to let him touch the ball, but he caught the ball a lot today,” Christian said. “And we were just trying to make it tough for him to catch the ball in the spots, and we just didn’t do a great job of that today.”

The Colonials held opponents to 24.4 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc this season. But Vermont was able to sink 9-of-19 from behind the arc.

Vermont hit a hot streak from deep in the first frame, firing at a .636 clip on 7-of-11 shooting before cooling down in the second frame. The Colonials, who average a .326 three-point percentage, connected on just 5-of-20 attempted triples.

The Catamounts capitalized on drives and jumpers in the paint too, netting 40 points throughout the game. The Colonials trailed in points down low with 32 throughout the contest.

Vermont struck first on a jumper and triple from Lamb. The Colonials caught up with a three-point shot of their own from freshman forward Jamison Battle and a layup from senior forward Arnaldo Toro.

Throughout 10 minutes, GW and Vermont traded baskets and the Catamounts never took more than a five-point lead. Junior guard Maceo Jack began to heat up from deep, draining three triples in three minutes. He led the Colonials in scoring for the second straight game, netting 12 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting.

Vermont broke away with less than nine minutes remaining in the half with the game knotted at 22. The Catamounts went on a 21-4 run to end the frame with a 43–26 lead.

The two teams traded baskets in the second frame, and GW began chipping away at the lead. A layup by freshman forward Chase Paar brought the deficit down to nine points. Paar netted a career-high seven points on 3-of-5 shooting in 11 minutes of action off the bench.

The Catamounts’ lead built up to 14 a minute later, but a jumper from sophomore guard Amir Harris and the fourth triple of the game from Jack brought the lead back down to single digits. In his second game, Harris scored 10 points, ripped seven boards and dished five assists in 29 minutes off the bench.

GW notched 17 points from its bench players, eight more points than Vermont’s nine. Fifteen of the team’s 33 rebounds also came from nonstarters. The Catamounts recorded 42 boards throughout the contest.

Vermont turned on the gas in the final eight minutes of play. The Catamounts jumped on a 16-2 run to end the game with their largest lead of the night and walk away with GW’s biggest deficit of the season.

Battle, redshirt senior guard Armel Potter and freshman guard Jameer Nelson Jr. had a quiet game, combining for 14 points. On the season, each player averages more than 10 points per game and the trio nets a combined 35.7 points per game.

Christian said the team responds well to challenges and expects it to bounce back to open Atlantic 10 play.

“I expect us to really have a great response to this when we come out for St. Bonaventure on Sunday,” Christian said. “I just think our team’s committed all year long. We’ve really put together great performances and we need to reset ourselves and attack things.”

The Colonials return to the hardwood Sunday for their first game of the new year and A-10 play against St. Bonaventure. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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