From Vermont Media Relations
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Freshman Joe Trapani (Madison, Conn.) netted a game-high 20 points in his collegiate debut to lead the University of Vermont men’s basketball team to an 82-65 victory over New Orleans in the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic opener on Tuesday. Six Catamounts registered nine points or more, as Vermont picks up its first season-opening victory since 2002. Vermont will now play in the College Park Regional Championship on Wednesday against the winner of the second game between host Maryland and Hampton, on ESPN2 at 7:00pm.
“We felt that if we didn’t turn the ball over and handled their man-to-man pressure, we would be able to get the ball inside,” said Vermont head coach Mike Lonergan. “I thought we showed pretty good composure tonight besides our turnovers, especially against a team we were unfamiliar with.”
Vermont took a 40-28 lead into halftime after shooting 50 percent (14-28) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes of play. Trapani scored 15 of his 20 in the first half, going 3-for-3 from behind the arc and 5-of-7 shooting overall.
The Catamounts pulled away in the second half as they outscored New Orleans 11-4 in the first 3:51 to stretch their lead to 51-32. After a hoop by the Privateer’s Tim Tillman, seniors Chris Holm (Henderson, Nev.) and Martin Klimes (Prague, Czech Rep.), along with sophomore Colin McIntosh (Milton, Mass.) hit back-to-back-to-back jumpers to give Vermont its biggest lead of the game at 19 and cap the run.
Trailing 63-47 with 8:23 left, New Orleans looked to get back into the contest with an 8-2 run over the next 1:21 that cut it to a 10-point game, but that is as close as the Privateers would get.
New Orleans scored the first five points of the contest on a jumper by Ben Elias and a three from Joey Barnitz. The Catamounts would answer with a 23-2 spurt to take a 23-7 advantage just under nine minutes into the contest after opening the game by hitting nine of their first 13 shots from the floor. Trapani had seven and six different Catamounts entered the scorebook in the run.
The Privateers picked up the defense, forcing the Cats to miss their next six shots. A pair of buckets by Asrangue Souleymane, a jumper from Jamie McNeilly and a lay-up from Bo McCalebb cut Vermont’s lead to eight, at 23-15, but that would be as close as New Orleans would get the rest of the way.
Sophomore Mike Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn.) scored 11 and handed out eight assists for Vermont, while junior Kyle Cieplicki (Shelburne, Vt.) netted 10. The Catamounts also had three players with nine points apiece in McIntosh, Klimes and redshirt freshman Jason Green (Washington, D.C.). Holm also had a solid game with six points and a game-high eight rebounds.
The Cats held a 40-25 edge on the boards and benefited from shooting 51.8 percent (29-56) from the floor and 53.3 percent (8-15) from three for the game. McCalebb led New Orleans with 18 points, 16 of which came in the second half, while McNeilly added 10.
Vermont will appear on television for the second straight night on Wednesday when it takes on the winner of the Hampton/Maryland game starting at 7:00pm on ESPN2.