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Vermont Catamounts flourish in home opener win over Quinnipiac Bobcats

After two heartbreaking losses to start off the season, a confident Vermont dominated the court in their home opener against Quinnipiac in an 83-70 win.

Back on their home floor at Patrick Gymnasium, the Vermont Catamounts seemed to slip right back into the swing of things once they hit the court. After facing off against two tough opponents, it was great to see them comfortable with themselves on the court. The Quinnipiac Bobcats were more equal as far as physicality, athleticism and basketball IQ compared to their other opponents, which made this a back and forth game from the beginning.

Four Catamounts hit double figures with sophomore Trey Bell-Haynes leading the way with 19 points. Senior Ethan O`Day scored 17, Darren Payen set a new career high of 14 and Nate Rohrer brought in 13. Kurt Steidl came one point and two rebounds shy of a double-double, and was not afraid to throw himself on the floor for a possession, which is good, considering he's currently nursing a lower body injury.

The Bobcats hit 11 of the their 21 shots from beyond the arc, which begs the question, how did they lose with such decent shooting? With 11 3-point shots, you'd think they would have had the game in the bag.

The answer: it was bad shooting in the second half and the inability to draw and capitalize on fouls. The Catamounts only made three more field goals than the Bobcats, but hit 23 of their 26 foul shots. They managed to head to the line twice as much as their opponents.

The overall game wasn't as exciting as some of their others, but it did highlight that the Catamounts will be well-staffed throughout the season. Their top four players bring in a combined average of 45 points per game, two of them being underclassman. On a team that only averages 64.5 points per game, they already have about 70 percent of their points with no problems.

Vermont takes a break for a few days before heading down to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., for a weekend of basketball for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off against Niagara.