It was a cat kind of night where the New Hampshire Wildcats and Vermont Catamounts pick up wins in their post season tournaments, while the Albany Great Danes head home in an overtime upset.
New Hampshire 77, Fairfield 62
The New Hampshire Wildcats went to Fairfield, CT to face off against the Fairfield Stags for not only a chance to further themselves within the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, but for a chance at 20 wins this season.
The first half was all offense from the Wildcats, who jumped out to and then maintained an early 6-0 start. It wasn't until Jerome Segura made a free throw at 17:26 that the Stags got on the board. One of the things that kept the Wildcats at a distance was their three point shooting. They went 10 for 22 overall with Daniel Dion hitting five of those. Jaleen Smith took control offensively scoring 22 points, a game high, with a little less than half of those coming from the free-throw line.
During halftime, the Stags heated up on the defensive end, keeping New Hampshire scoreless until the 15:57 mark when Jacoby Armstrong was finally able to make a layup. It was their strong defense and ability to connect during transitions that caused a scare for the WIidcats. Being up 17 at the half, the Stags were able to knock that down to single digits multiple times throughout the second half. In the end, the Wildcats were able to stay alive and live to play another day.
Vermont Catamounts 79, Western Carolina Catamounts 74
Whoever put this matchup together must have been laughing when it was released. The Catamounts play the Catamounts. That's totally not confusing at all...
Like their America East counterparts, Vermont started out with the lead early, but it wasn't held very long. Vermont and Western Carolina had a back and forth battle for quite some time in the first half, until Vermont slowly started to run away with the lead.
With their senior big man on the bench due to an injury in the America East title game, it was up to the rest of the guys to fill in the blank and get things rolling. Kurt Steidl, who was relatively quite in their last outing due to foul trouble tied the game high with 20 points on 5 of 11 shooting. Trae Bell-Haynes wasn't as prolific as Steidl, but was able to capitalize on hitting 11 of his 12 free throws, to make him the only other Vermont player in double figures.
Ohio Bobcats 94, Albany Great Danes 90
Keeping with our cat theme, the Ohio Bobcats pulled off the win against America East sweethearts, Albany.
The game was heavily in favor of the Bobcats from the start. But if you know anything about Albany, they're very capable of clawing their way back into a game, and they did. There was only a two-point lead at halftime, giving the Great Danes hopes of continuing their season.
It wasn't until 11:33 left in the second half that Albany squeezed ahead by one point at 51-50. After that, it was a back and forth battle. A three by Peter Hooley with six seconds left on the clock brought them within one. A three by Evan Singletary with two seconds left on the clock gave them the tie to send the game into overtime.
Overtime, however, did not go in favor of the Danes. They were able to go shot for shot until about a minute left in the game. Down by three, two tries from beyond the arc were no good, resulting in Albany having to foul to extend the game. They caught up with nine seconds left at 90-92 but sending Treg Setty to the free throw line to grab his 29th and 30th points of the game sealed the deal for the Bobcats.