Vermont freshman forward Ethan O’Day slams it home in the Catamounts 85-78 win over Harvard on Tuesday Night (Photograph by Sam Perkins)
(Allston, MA) – Just start calling the Vermont Catamounts “The Road-Warriors” and point guard Sandro Carissimo “Big Game.”
Carissimo poured in a career-high 25 points, once again making the biggest play in the game’s biggest moment, and was the engine that powered the Catamounts to a resounding 85-78 road win over the defending Ivy League champion Harvard Crimson.
“Obviously, Sandro was incredible,” said Vermont head coach John Becker. “It was a really good Harvard team, on the road; we’re really excited about this win.”
Vermont forward Luke Apfeld looks to make a pass during the second half of Tuesday night’s action (Photo by Sam Perkins).
The Catamounts shot a blistering 59.6 percent from the floor, including an unconscious 73 percent in the first half, and put on an offensive clinic against a Crimson squad that has reigned as one of the best defensive teams in the nation, and remained calm under pressure and cool under fire, to weather every Crimson offensive charge down the stretch.
“It was a really good effort, especially offensively tonight. We finally executed our offense,” Vermont head coach John Becker said. “We were aggressive, took good ones, and made the extra pass.”
Carissimo led the way, shooting 8-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from downtown, including the biggest shot of the night – a three-point dagger from the left-corner with 1:16 remaining in the game – dished out six assists to just one turnover, and continued to run the Catamount’s show with ice-water in his veins.
“He’s become our closer,” said Becker of Carissimo. “He just wants the ball at the end of the game. Coaches have confidence in him, players have confidence in him, and he’s got confidence in himself, obviously – he’s unbelievable.”
Forward Clancy Rugg scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and forward Luke Apfeld battled his way to 13 points despite being limited to 18 minutes of action before fouling out, scoring on several extremely hard-fought buckets around the hoop. Point-forward Brian Voelkel continued his nightly battled in the trenches, making all the hustle plays that don’t show up in the box score while playing lock-down defense. Guards Candon Rusin and Trey Blue added seven points, apiece, and eight different Catamounts scored four points or more.
“Clancy was really good on the inside, Luke got 13,” said Becker. “This group, we’ve been through a lot, and they understand what it takes to win games and win games on the road.”
Prior to tip-off, Tuesday night’s game appeared to be a case-study in what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. The Crimson entered the game 30-1 since February of 2010 when playing at home in the cozy-confines of Lavietes Pavilion, while the Catamounts had won 39 road contests since the start of the 2009-2010 season. (more…)