It's hard not to think about Vermont when you mention the America East this time of year and that's no different this year. Tonight the Catamounts were in search of their sixth America East regular season title since 2002. Standing in their way was the two-time defending regular season champs and the only team that has beaten Vermont in conference play this year, the Stony Brook Seawolves.
To say both teams were hot coming into tonight would be a vast understatement. Vermont is of course 13-1 coming in and winners of their 15 of their last 16 games. Meanwhile the Seawolves were just a game behind the Catamounts and have won 11 of their last 13. While Stony Brook took down Vermont 67-64 early this year, thanks to 18 points from Jameel Warney, this game was in Burlington and the Catamounts were the only team that could end the America East race tonight.
Vermont stormed out the gates tonight and forced a Steve Pikiell timeout less than four minutes into the game thanks to an early 12-0 run and six straight missed field goals from the Seawolves. Pikiell's team did not respond immediately, in fact things got worst for the Seawolves as they found themselves down 36-22 thanks to a balanced attack from the Catamounts.
Stony Brook didn't come out in the second half with the fire they would need to mount a comeback as Vermont ended up running away with a 69-53 victory. UVM had five players finish in double-figures lead by Luke Apfeld with 14 points. Brian Voelkel didn't get to double-figures but he had his fingers on this game with 7 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.
The win tonight's wraps up the one seed and the regular season title for Vermont, as well as ensuring the Catamounts will go to the NIT should they fall in the America East Tournament. UVM will most likely play the loser of Sunday's match up between Maine and New Hampshire in the first round of the America East Tournament in Albany's SEFCU Arena on March 8. If the Catamounts make it through the semifinals then they'll host the conference championship for the second straight year.