After a dismal 20-point loss in its opening game, the University of Vermont went to West Lafayette, Ind., looking for a win. Playing the No. 23 team in the country wasn't going to be an easy task. Vermont scratched, clawed and fought their way through the game, but it wasn't enough to combat Purdue's manpower in a 107-79 loss.
When you see two guys over 7-feet tall on a roster, and only one guard under 6-feet tall, you'd think they'd be a powerhouse for the paint. You imagine dunk after dunk with such height on a team, but if you're the Purdue Boilermakers, you have a slightly different agenda.
The Vermont Catamounts started off in a hard spot, plagued with missed shots, turnovers and a foul before they even put points on the board. Purdue was able to capitalize on the Vermont mistakes by hitting multiple 3-point baskets. To make matters worse, star defensive player, Dre Wills, had to sit out due to an injury sustained during their exhibition game. Their best shot at keeping the Boilermakers at bay was on the bench and most of their starting five were underclassmen.
The first half of the game was more like a football game. Bodies were diving all over the floor from both sides trying to gain and keep possession. It seemed like nothing was going right for the Catamounts, with calls against them coming left and right. They were in foul trouble before the first half ended, having been called for 25 as a team. Kurt Steidl was the only starter to have one foul throughout the entire game.
Whenever they would cut the deficit down to single digits, Purdue would use their speed and ability to make shots from the outside to bring them back up.
Ethan O`Day, the sole senior on the team, brought his A-game to the floor, showing off his fancy footwork and his ability to get into the paint, but it wasn't enough to combat the Boilermakers. He was one of three Catamounts to make it to double-digits, scoring 15 points, along with Trey Bell-Haynes (17 points) and Ernie Duncan (18 points).
Any hopes for a miraculous comeback was squashed at Purdue's immaculate 3-point shooting. They ended the night with 18 from beyond the arc scored by six different players, a school record. Once their shots started connecting, it didn't matter how good Vermont was, they always had an answer and then some. Once they hit the century mark and came 13 points from tying their all-time high for points in a game, Vermont looked just flat out tired and drained.
The good new is this is probably one of, if not the, hardest games Vermont will have in the nonconference season. Their effort and inability to back down will definitely help them in the long run. Their 0-2 start may not look pretty statistically, but statistics aren't everything.
Vermont heads back to Patrick Gymnasium to face Quinnipiac on Nov. 18 in hopes of their first win.