Release: February 6, 2008
VESTAL, N.Y. -- In a battle of two top-tier America East teams, visiting Vermont (12-10, 7-3 AE) executed its offense to perfection and thwarted a late rally to defeat Binghamton (10-12, 6-4 AE) 83-78 Wednesday night at the Events Center. With their fifth straight win over the Bearcats, the Catamounts take over sole possession of second place in the conference.
Four days after BU allowed Hartford to shoot 72% in the second half of a loss, Vermont shot the exact same percentage in the first half, hitting 13-of-18 shots to take a 36-33 lead into intermission. The Catamounts then opened the second half with an 18-2 run to forge a 54-35 lead with 14:11 left.
With a boisterous crowd of 3,309 urging them on, the Bearcats went on a 21-9 run to close within seven, 63-56, with 8:40 to play. The Catamounts led 78-69 with 2:58 remaining before BU mounted one final surge - a 9-2 run to close the gap to just two, 80-78, with 31 seconds remaining. But Vermont guard Mike Trimboli converted a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left and Marqus Blakely added another with six seconds left to close out the scoring.
"We came out flat early and our defense was bad," head coach Kevin Broadus said. "We have to get back on track. The effort was better in the last 16 minutes but we can't dig ourselves a hole like that and expect to win. We have to be tougher. Vermont is a good team though."
Junior guard Dwayne Jackson (Akron, Ohio), BU's America East Player of the Game, scored a team-high 19 points with seven rebounds, senior guard Mike Gordon (Plainfield, N.J.) produced 15 poitns and seven assists and freshman guard Chretien Lukusa (Toronto, Ontario) added a season-high 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
The Catamounts' field goal percentage soared above 70% until late in the game, and only the team's 20 turnovers kept the outcome in doubt. Binghamton scored 27 points off turnovers.
Trimboli wound up with 22 points to lead four players in double figures. Senior backcourt mate Kyle Cieplicki netted 20 points (4-of-8 three-pointers) and was named Vermont's America East Player of the Game.
Binghamton begins a crucial two-game road trip with a game at first-place UMBC on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on WBGH beginning at 3:30 p.m.
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