Vermont won its sixth game in a row against Hartford on Thursday night, 61-47, marking the eleventh time in a row Vermont beat Hartford. The win improved Vermont to 9-2 in conference, moving them a half game ahead of Maine in the America East standings.
The things I love about this win:
-The Cats were lead by freshman Sandro Carissimo, who ended up with 14 points. Brian Voelkel contributed 12 rebounds to the victory. Luke Apfeld played some big minutes and went 6-6 from the free throw line, leading the team, which finished 21-23 from the free throw line. This power trio of freshmen continue to produce for the Cats.
-The team was without senior sixth-man Joey Accaoui and his outside shooting, but still managed to knock down 4 of 10 from range.
-All five UVM starters (Carissimo, Evan Fjeld, Matt Glass, Brendan Bald, and Voelkel) had at least 8 points, reinforcing the fact that the team has a consistent, balanced offense.
-The Cats allowed less than 50 points for the second straight game, limiting Hartford to 32.4% shooting on the night, almost identical numbers to the win against UNH on Monday. Consistency at defense is becoming a trademark of this team, making them considerably fun to watch.
The things that scare me about this win:
-UVM turned the ball over 16 times, with Carissimo and Voelkel, who have been splitting time at the point, accounting for half of those turnovers. Simeon Marsalis played 14 minutes but failed to record a point or an assist. Someone needs to emerge as a reliable point guard option for this team, and right now Carissimo's scoring has been encouraging, but he has yet to reassure Coach Lonergan that he is the right man for the job.
-This was not a pretty basketball game. Both teams shot rather poorly, and if it wasn't for UVM's success at the free throw line, this would have been a nail-biter. And playing Hartford should not be a nail-biter for Vermont.
All in all, tack up another W for the Cats, who take on Stony Brook at home on Sunday. The game is at 1 pm ET, so you'll be able to catch the big game in Dallas with plenty of time to spare.