Releases

For Immediate Release: March 5, 2006
Contact: John Hartrick (hartrick@binghamton.edu)
Phone: 607-777-6800

BU men's basketball season ends with 66-59 loss to Vermont in AE semifinal
Heard scores game-high 24 points but BU shoots 28% in second half

Box Score

VESTAL, N.Y. - Sixth-seeded Vermont (13-16) withstood an early barrage of three-pointers and refused to relinquish their conference crown in a 66-59 win over second-seeded Binghamton (16-13) in the semifinals of the America East Championship Sunday afternoon from the Events Center. The Catamounts trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half but used a wide rebound advantage to take the lead for good early in the second half. Vermont then sank eight free throws in the final 1:35 to seal the win.

Vermont held a size advantage that was magnified by the absence of Binghamton senior captain and leading rebounder Sebastian Hermenier, who didn't dress for the game with a foot injury. The Catamounts built a 44-29 margin on the glass and eased their way back into the game after BU jumped out to a 20-5 lead.

The Catamounts closed out the first half on a 14-1 run that was buoyed by an abundance of free throws. Binghamton was whistled for four fouls in a 1:42 span and Vermont capitalized at the line, sinking eight foul shots during the run and 24-of-33 for the game. The sharp-shooting guard tandem of Kyle Cieplicki and Mike Trimboli converted 18-of-18 free throws between them, with Cieplicki cashing in all 10 attempts.

"We had a great run to start the game and then sputtered," head coach Al Walker said. "I take my hat off to Vermont. They did a wonderful job. They won the rebounding battle and took care of the basketball. We couldn't harrass them into more turnovers. We played as solid as we could but didn't catch any breaks. It was a great America East season and we fought and fought and I'm really proud of our players."

Senior guard Andre Heard (Oklahoma City, Okla.) exploded for 16 points of his game-high 24 points in the first half, but was relatively quiet in the second before fouling out with 2:01 remaining. Heard missed his first shot of the game but then nailed five consecutive three-pointers - part of seven straight Bearcat treys. But the offense went cold late in the half with during Vermont's 14-1 run, BU went without a field goal for the final 6:29 of the half.

Heard hit 7-of-19 from the floor, including 6-of-10 from three-point range, and added six rebounds and three assists in his final collegiate game. He concluded his two-year career at Binghamton with 911 points - the most of any BU player at the Division I level.

Vermont was led by Cieplicki's 17 points. Senior center Martin Klimes and Trimboli added 16 and 12 points respectively. The Catamounts will play the winner of the Albany-New Hampshire semifinal for the America EAst Championship on March 11.

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