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Vermont Edges Yale 82-78

Sam Martin. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Sam Martin. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Morgan Scores 25 Points To Lead Bulldogs

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Not too many teams have walked in to Vermont's Patrick Gym and escaped with a victory in recent years. Yale nearly pulled it off on Saturday. The Catamounts, though, got a big second half from Joey Accaoui, who scored all 17 of his points after the intermission, and earned a hard-fought 82-78 victory before a spirited crowd of 2,751. It was Vermont's 28th win in its last 33 home games.

This one was probably one of the most difficult. There were 11 ties and 12 lead changes in the game. Yale's largest lead was seven midway through the first half, and the Catamounts' biggest advantage was six.

The final tie was at 59 with seven minutes left. Vermont then scored the next five points. The Bulldogs pulled within three, 67-64, on Reggie Willhite's jumper with 4:30 left, but Brendan Bald answered with a big three-pointer.

Yale trailed by three with a minute left and had the ball after a Greg Mangano steal, but Evan Fjeld blocked Porter Braswell's driving layup. Fjeld corralled the rebound, was fouled and hit one of two free throws with 51 seconds remaining.

Mangano's layup pulled the Bulldogs within two, but Mangano was then called for an intentional foul on Bald, who made one of the two free throws. Vermont maintained possession and Accaoui was fouled. He hit both foul shots to give the Catamounts a 76-71 lead with 24 seconds left.

Still, Yale wasn't quite finished. Austin Morgan made three free throws with five seconds left to pull the Bulldogs within 80-78. Accaoui, though, sealed the win by hitting two fouls shots with two seconds left.

The Catamounts' final 12 points all came from the foul line.

Vermont, which is ranked 21st in the latest Mid-Major poll, shot 65.2 percent from the field in the second half. The Catamounts (6-1) also outrebounded Yale 36-28 in the game.

"We didn't defend or rebound well enough in key stretches," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "And yet we still had a chance at the end of the game."

Morgan was again outstanding for the Bulldogs. He was 6-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-7 from three-point range, and made all nine of his free throws to finish with a game-high 25 points. Mangano added 14 points and nine rebounds. Braswell scored 12 and Jeremiah Kreisberg and Sam Martin both had nine points off the bench. Martin made all three of his field goal attempts, all three-pointers, and has now made five straight treys.

"We got some good contributions from our bench," Jones said. "Jeremiah gave us some good minutes, and Sam hit some big shots, but we need more."

Vermont's bench outscored Yale's 29-18, thanks mostly to the 17 points from Accaoui. Evan Fjeld led the Catamounts with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Matt Glass added 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.

"Vermont is a very good team," Jones said. "They'll be in the fight for the [the America East] championship."

NOTES: The Bulldogs were 10-of-16 from three-point range in the game. Yale has already made 57 three-pointers this season… Martin's and Kreisberg's nine points were both career highs… Vermont outscored Yale 48-20 in the paint… Former Yale and Vermont head coach Tom Brennan was in attendance… The Bulldogs play their third straight game against an America East opponent on Monday when they host Albany. Tipoff should be around 7:30 p.m. following the Yale-Fairleigh Dickinson women's game which starts at 5 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity