NEWARK, Del. - Sophomore Mike Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn.) scored a career-high 25 points and freshman Joe Trapani (Madison, Conn.) hit two big baskets in the final 1:19 of play to help Vermont come from behind to defeat Delaware 57-55 on Sunday afternoon in men’s basketball action at the Bob Carpenter Center.
“It was nice to see Mike (Trimboli) finally break out after struggling lately shooting as he was due for a big offensive game,” said Vermont head coach Mike Lonergan. “We played great team defense today and Joe (Trapani) hit a huge three at the end to put us on top for good. I think that we are a more experienced team this year which has allowed us to keep our composure down the stretch and win two close road games this season.”
Vermont improves to 4-4 with the victory after opening the year with seven of its first eight away from home. The win was also the first for the Catamounts against the Blue Hens at the Bob Carpenter Center, as Vermont was 0-13 all-time against its former America East rival on the road.
Vermont trailed 55-51 when Trapani hit a put back to cut the Blue Hen lead to two with 1:17 remaining and on the very next possession he buried a three with a man in his face to give the Cats a 56-55 advantage with 33.3 seconds left. Senior Chris Holm (Henderson, Nev.) hit one of two free throws with two seconds left to wrap up the scoring.
In the first half the home team took a 4-0 lead and the Catamounts did not score their first basket of the day until Trimboli hit a lay up 5:05 into the contest. Over the first 4:13 of the game there were more fouls (six) then combined points between the two teams (four). Trailing 5-4, the Blue Hens rattled off 11 straight, including six by Herb Courtney to take a 15-5 lead with 12:12 remaining the half.
Delaware led 22-12 on a pair of free throws from Zaire Taylor but the Catamounts ended the half on a 15-2 run over the final 5:16, sparked by Trimboli. The sophomore netted nine of his first half high 15 in the spurt as he hit six of his eight attempts before the break. As they have all year, turnovers plagued Vermont to start the game as it had 16 going into intermission.
The Cats would push their lead to as many as six, 32-26 on a jumper by Trapani 2:25 into the second half, but Delaware used a 12-1 run over the next 5:27 to go back on top 38-33. The Blue Hens stretched their advantage to as many as six, 43-37, on a lay up by Zaire Taylor with 9:50 to go in the contest.
In a game of runs, Vermont fought back with a 12-4 push to take a 49-47 lead on a lay up by freshman Marqus Blakely (Metuchen, N.J.) with 4:42 remaining. A jumper by Darrell Johnson knotted the score at 51-51 and after a Catamount turnover Brian Johnson hit one of two free throws to give Delaware a 52-51 lead. The Cats missed two shots and two free throws as the Blue Hens would extend their lead to 55-51 on a three by Taylor, setting up Trapani’s big finish.
Trailing by one with 33 seconds left, Calvin Cannon missed a baseline jumper and Johnson missed a shot that Holm pulled in to seal the deal.
Trimboli finished the game hitting 9-of-18 from the floor and 3-of-5 from three to go with six rebounds. Trapani had 12 points and five rebounds, marking the seventh time in eight games that he has reached double figures. Holm matched a career high with 16 boards in the contest.
Taylor led Delaware with 19 points as the only Blue Hen in double figures. As a team Delaware shot 36.4 percent from the game.