BURLINGTON, Vt. – The Vermont Catamounts snapped the Black Bears two-game winning streak as the No. 1 defense in America East defeated the No. 1 offense, 92-65 at Patrick Gym on Tuesday night. With the loss the Black Bears drop to 5-17 and 3-7 in conference while the Catamounts stay nearly flawless in conference play with a 9-1 mark and 15-9 overall.
Sandro Carrisimo and Clancy Rugg took care of the offensive firepower, as they were two of four players to reach double-figures scoring 20 and 15, respectively. Ethan O'Day and Candon Rusin also hit double figures, scoring 12 and 10. Vermont shot 60 percent form the floor in the game, hitting 38-of-63 from the field.
The Black Bears received offense from Zarko Valjarevic as the junior tallied 19 points. Meanwhile Kilian Cato and Xavier Pollard also aided in offense scoring 15 and 10, respectively. Maine shot 42 percent in the game.
The Catamounts registered 10 blocks in the contest and forced 13 turnovers, smothering the Black Bear attack. They also won the rebounding battle to the tune of 38-16.
Shaun Lawton got the Black Bears on the board in the opening minute taking a pass and dashing into the paint to lay in the first bucket of the contest. Cato followed that up with a bucket of his own, after forcing a Vermont miss, to get Maine out to a 4-0 lead.
Vermont got things tied back up at 7-7 with under 17 minutes left in the half but Valjarevic hit a 3-pointer on the next possession to put Maine back out in front, 10-7.
Carissimo made it 10-9 but the Black Bears once again responded on the next possession as Ethan Mackey got free in the paint and laid in his first bucket to make it 12-9 headed into the under 16:00 media timeout.
Pollard got Maine to a four point lead following a Vermont make, hitting a trey to make it 15-11, but the Catamounts stormed back several possessions later as Candon Rusin hit a jumper to cut the deficit to 15-13.
Rusin knotted things up a few possessions later, hitting a wide-open 3-pointer following a defensive miscommunication, but Till Gloger hit a jump-hook shot to give Maine a slim 19-17 lead with 11:39 left in the contest.
Maine pushed its advantage out to a 21-17 lead, but back-to-back buckets by Rugg made it 21-21 at the 10:37 mark of the first half.
Following a pair of free throw makes by Vajarevic upon the discovery of a flagrant foul by Rusin, Rugg gave Vermont their first lead of the half helping the Catamounts go on a abbreviated 9-3 run, as the squad went up 26-23 with under 10 minutes remaining.
With the game at 26-26 Vermont took over going on a 11-2 run sparked by two treys by Carissimo, as Vermont took the lead 37-28.
The Catamounts made it a 13 point lead as Ethan O'Day attempted a layup as a block attempt by Cato turned out to be goaltending and the basket was counted, to make it 43-30, Catamounts, with 3:46 remaining.
Vermont held onto the momentum the rest of the first the half going on an 8-3 run as the squad headed into halftime up 51-33. All told the Catamounts finished the half on a 25-7 run after the game was tied up at 26-26.
Vermont had two players pace an offense that shot a scorching 67 percent from the field as Carissimo and Rugg scored 15 and 11, respectively.
Meanwhile, Valjarevic, who hit 3-of-4 from three-point land and tallied 12 points, led the Black Bears offense. Maine started off shooting hot in the first portion of the frame but tailed off as Vermont tightened up defensively, as the squad finished up having shot 43 percent from the field.
Cato attempted a trey to open the half up but the Catamounts tallied their seventh block of the game and turned it up court to a streaking Rusin who made it 53-33.
That opening basket sparked a 12-3 run forcing a Maine timeout with 15:13 left in the game, as Vermont poured on the offense to the tune of 63-36.
Vermont continued to surge offensively pushing the the run to 25-3, at the 10:46 mark of the second half and increasing the lead to 74-36.
Cato broke that run with a free throw followed by a trey tha sparked a 6-0 run to make it 74-42.
Cato continued his strong second half, hitting a trey at the 7:49 mark of the second half as the team headed into the under 8:00 minute media timeout as the Black Bears cut the lead to 79-49.
Maine received some sporadic offense but Vermont remained in the driver seat as they outscored the Black Bears 41-32 in the final frame as they completed the 93-65 victory.
The Black Bears will complete its two-game road swing on Saturday night when the team heads to Binghatmon, N.Y., for the second game of the season series against the Bearcats looking for the sweep. That game is scheduled for 2 p.m.