Vermont Beats Stony Brook on Road to Capture Fifth Men's Basketball Title Since 2003
STONY BROOK, N.Y. -- For the fifth time since 2003, Vermont is the America East men's basketball champion. The second-seeded Catamounts held top-seeded Stony Brook to just 29 percent shooting en route to a 51-43 victory over the Seawolves in the conference championship game Saturday morning at soldout Stony Brook Arena.
Brian Voelkel, who compiled five points, 15 rebounds and seven assists, earned Reggie Lewis Most Outstanding Player honors for the Catamounts, which became just the fourth team in conference history to win the title on the road in 29 tries. UVM, which earned its fifth-ever NCAA Championship appearance, will learn its draw on Sunday at 6 p.m. during the NCAA Selection Show, which will be televised nationally on CBS.
Vermont (23-11), winner of 14 of its last 15 games, dominated the game from the start, going on a 17-5 first-half run. Sandro Carissimo, one of four Catamounts to earn All-Championship accolades, hit a layup with 6:36 left in the period to give his team a 22-9 advantage.
Stony Brook (22-9), which started the game shooting just 3-of-20 from the field, scored 10 of the half's last 14 points to close within seven before the break. Dallis Joyner, who earned All-Championship honors for the Seawolves, hit a short jumper in the final minute of the stanza to make the haltime score 26-17.
The Catamounts, who held the Seawolves to a championship-game record-low 29.3 percent shooting, grew their lead to 12 in the opening minutes of the second half. First-team all-conference performer Bryan Dougher's three-pointer got Stony Brook within six 3:27 into the second half. But, UVM grew its lead to 46-29 by the halfway point of the stanza. Four McGlynn, who earned all-tournament honors, scored nine of his game-high 14 points during UVM's 15-4 run. The spurt was capped when the MOP, Voelkel, who averaged 4.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists in the three games, sank a three-pointer with 9:42 left that gave UVM its largest advantage of the game.
The Seawolves, who will appear in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) for the second time in three years, charged back to make the game interesting. Dave Coley scored eight straight points and capped the run with a three-point play that brought the Seawolves within six (47-41) with 5:24 left. SBU's stellar defense held UVM without a field goal for the last 9:42 of the game and Bryan Dougher canned two of three free throws with a minute remaining to get the home team within four. But that was as close as they'd get as Vermont his four of six free throws down the stretch to seal it.
"It was a great team effort, something we’ve been doing all year," said Vermont head coach John Becker, who joins former Northeastern coach Karl Fogel as the only first-year head coaches to win conference championships. "We played a great defensive game, they only shot 29 percent, just a credit to the way our kids competed on the defensive end of the court."
Matt Glass (seven points) joins Carissismo, Voelkel and McGlynn as All-Championship choices for the Cats, who shot 7-for-15 (46.7 percent) from three points land. Coley and Al Rapier paced Stony Brook with 10 points each.