Down by as many as 17 in the first half, the UVM men's basketball team was looking at the very real possibility of seeing their best in the nation in-conference winning streak come to an end.
Not to mention keeping this season's 12-game winning streak intact. And then there's the whole mind game thing about losing to your biggest rival. In the end, though, the Catamounts found a way to beat the Albany Great Danes 72-67 in upstate New York and keep all the relevant streaks alive.
The comeback was spurred by a team-high 20 points from Trae Bell-Haynes and right behind him, senior Drew Urquhart, who finished with 19 and played a smart, physical game that helped the Catamounts get some needed rebounds after losing the battle of the glass in the first half. John Becker's team also paid attention to the small things, like making your free throws, and UVM was a perfect 20 for 20 from the charity stripe to get back in the game in the second half.
But the game was still up for grabs with UVM leading by three points and 13 seconds left on the clock when Bell-Haynes force Albany's Joe Cremo into taking a wild shot and then grabbed the rebound, salting the game away in Vermont's favor.
So UVM has still yet to lose to an America East foe in games stretching back to last year, and the current winning streak is at a baker's dozen, the Catamounts are a conference best 20-5 on the year, and it doesn't hurt that they overcame a big deficit to beat their arch nemesis on their own home court.
And while all this was going on in New York's capitol, the UVM women's team was at Patrick Gym on Tom Brennan Court, facing their Albany counterparts, and doing so as decided underdogs. The Great Danes had beaten UVM in their last 19 contests, and so when the final buzzer sounded and the score 0f 62-57 in favor of UVM was secured, the UVM women had as much to celebrate as the men.
Continuing her amazing season, Hanna Crymble led the way with 18 points, adding 7 rebounds, and as a team, the Catamounts limited the Albany offense to just 17 points in the first half, while shooting 52% from the field. This makes for back to back wins against America East opponents for UVM after beating UNH in their last contest, and UVM gets its 8th win of the year in the process.
To the pro hardwood and the biggest action was not on the floor but over the phones as the Cleveland Cavaliers and L.A. Lakers pulled off a huge trade meant to help the Cavs compete now, and the Lakers do so next season.
Since trading for ex-Celtics all star guard Isaiah Thomas this past off season and waiting for him to recover from hip surgery, the Cavs have fallen into disarray and the Thomas trade just hasn't worked out for them, while the Celtics have more than enjoyed having Kyrie Irving take Thomas' place. Now Thomas has been sent to the Lakers and in return the Cavs get a package including Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., a younger squad that can shoot the lights out from the perimeter, and can play swarming defense as well.
For the Lakers, they're looking to free up cap space so they can try and perhaps sign LeBron James next season and superstar Paul George, those big marquee names floated speculatively by ESPN analysts and if it happens, the Lakers-Celtics rivalry that's been dormant for nearly ten years now will come roaring back to life.
Those Celtics were in action last night and went to overtime against the Washington Wizards mostly because Kyrie Irving scored 12 of Boston's last 17 points on the night and finished with 28 overall. Jaylen Brown had 18 including five points in overtime, and the Wizards, missing their best ball handler John Wall, helped Boston out by committing 22 turnovers. The win keeps the Celtics a game ahead of the Toronto raptors for first place in the east.
In the NHL, Claude Giroux had a goal and two assist to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Philly, continuing the feel good sports story after the Eagles super bowl win. The Flyers are very much in the hunt for a wild card spot at this point, while the Habs are looking at being sellers as the trade deadline approaches.