Coach Mike Lonergan needs to find a way to get his team to perform in the first half. Playing an overmatched and beat-up UNH squad, UVM again needed a superb second half to knock off UNH 61-53. The win moves Vermont to 4-2 and drops New Hampshire to 1-5 in conference, something that is sure to make nearly every Vermonter smile (if you wondering about the "nearly," see "The One That Got Away," one blog entry prior. Tyrone Conley is probably not smiling).
-It's hard to not notice the discrepancy between UVM's first and second half play. In Vermont's last five wins, they have either trailed or led by less than two points at the half. In those five wins, their average margin of victory is 14. While they still won these games, it seems like the Cats need to get into the habit of putting lesser teams away early. If not for their sucks, for our sake! Cheering for second half teams is liable to take years off of your life. Fair warning.
-UVM shot an anemic 12-21 from the free throw line against UNH. Joey Accaoui, who had missed three free throws all season coming into the game, was 3-6 from the line. While the Cats still shoot a decent 67% (5th in America East) at the line, this is a statistic that must be improved before the conference tournament. It would be nice for someone like Accaoui to emerge as a late game cooler -- someone who can put the game on ice shooting free throws.
-While any road win is a good win, UNH was missing leading rebounder Dane Diliegro and go-to scorer Alvin Abreu. The Wildcats still hung in the game the entire first half, and made small runs in the second half. The students at UNH are still not back from break, so the gym in Durham was not to be confused with a different gym in North Carolina (as if it ever is). This is a game you'd like to see the Cats put away early and often.
-Sandro Carrisimo had the best game of his freshman year since the opening game against Siena. He dropped 12 points in his first career start. This is nice to see since it reiterates the trend of different players stepping up to be the supplementary scorer to Evan Fjeld and Accaoui. Fjeld, who has not scored in double figures only twice this season, had 10 points, while Accaoui had 13.
-Banged-up or not, UNH was held to 30% from the field, which is always a good sign for the Cats.
-UVM out-rebounded UNH 35-20, another trend that seems to continue. Again, Diliegro, UNH's leading rebounder was not in the game, but you gotta take what you can get. And if UVM keeps getting rebounds, we'll take it.
All in all, a W is a W.