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Vermont Heads to CBI Semifinals After Win Over Seattle

For the second straight year, the Vermont Catamounts head to the College Basketball Invitational Semifinals with a 73-54 win over the Seattle Redhawks.

Plagued with a shoddy live feed, no broadcast to accompany it and the live stats machine having technical difficulties, this quarterfinal round of the CBI between the Vermont Catamounts and the Seattle Redhawks was going to be an interesting game.

In a somewhat of a homecoming for Vermont's Drew Urqhart, the sophomore from Vancouver, there was plenty of green and gold in the KeyArena. With most of the players dealing with some serious jet lag, having some friendly faces in the crowd hopefully put them a bit more at ease.

The Catamounts came out hot from the start, hitting two quick threes from Ernie Duncan and Kurt Steidl. Adding to those quick shots was a layup by Trae Bell-Haynes. Though they started off hot, facing off against a defensive driven Seattle team, they not only slowed the game down but caused a bit of a lull in their offense. To say it was a low scoring game was an understatement. Vermont was able to head into the locker room at the half with the lead, but it was 27-22.

Two of the big problems Vermont had against Seattle were 6-11, 265lb senior Jack Crook and 7-3, 260lb freshman, Aaron Menzies. Considering that the Catamounts don't have as much height or even close to as much bulk on their squad, these two powerhouses caused quite a bit of trouble. Besides just having an extreme height advantage over Vermont's main shooters, who come in at around 6-2, most of the Redhawks offense was run through those two. Crook ended the game with 12 points, seven rebounds, one block and one steal, but countered that with four turnovers and four fouls. This homes in on their 65 points scored per game, but 67 points allowed per game.

Four Catamounts were able to end the game with double figures. Leading the way was Steidl, who ended with 17, Bell-Haynes just below him with 16 and Darren Payen and Ernie Duncan with 14. With senior starter Ethan O'Day still out in the postseason with a knee injury, it's a good sign for the future of the Catamounts to see they can not only win without him but evenly spread the points as well.

The second half of the game looked like Seattle was going to make a run for it. They managed to tie the game when Brendan Westendorf hit a free throw to make it 34 all. But the Catamounts were having none of that. They came alive in the second half and almost immediately rectified the tie and pulled ahead with the lead. A layup by Dre Wills made it 38-36, another layup by Payen made it 40-36. It was like every shot Seattle was making, Vermont was hitting two or three more.

Their quick addition of points was mainly because once the clock hit about five minutes remaining in the game, Seattle chose to foul Vermont whenever they had possession. In the final five minutes of the game, they skyrocketed from 52 points to 73 points. While it's understandable that Seattle wanted to prolong the game in hopes of a miraculous comeback, all it did was stop the clock and extend the game, much to the dismay of anyone watching back on the east coast.

Vermont gets to add more travel miles to their log as they head down to Reno, Nevada to face off against the Nevada Wolf Pack in a chance to go the farthest into the CBI tournament the team has ever been.