BURLINGTON, VT -- Six different Vermont players scored in double figures as the defending America East Champion and unanimous preseason favorite Catamounts defeated Siena Basketball 81-57 in front of a sellout crowd of 3,266 on Tom Brennan Court Dedication Night at Patrick Gymnasium. Sophomore guard Ahsante Shivers scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Saints.
Drew Urquhart paced a balanced attack with 13 points, six rebounds, and three blocks off the bench for Vermont (7-4) which defeated Siena (2-8) for the eighth consecutive season. Fellow reserve Stef Smith added 12 points on 5-6 shooting and five assists for the Catamounts which shot 51% from the field and dished out 19 assists on 26 made field goals.
Nico Clareth tallied 16 points and grabbed a season-high seven rebounds in just 15 minutes off the bench for the Saints who capped a grueling stretch where they played perennial national power Louisville and America East contenders UAlbany and Vermont in the span of just six days. Those three programs combined to post a 75-29 (.721) record last year, and were a collective 22-7 (.759) entering play tonight.
UVM scored the first 10 points in leading throughout and by as much as 26. Siena rallied to within as close as three points on several occasions in the first half, but the Catamounts reeled off a 22-6 run late before ultimately taking a 45-29 lead at the break.
The Saints scored seven straight points to rally within 13 early in the second half but Vermont, which shot 57% in the final stanza, responded with a 15-2 run to pull away.
Everett Duncan scored 12 points on a perfect 4-4 from three, and reigning America East Rookie of the Year Anthony Lamb contributed 11 for the Catamounts which shot 21-27 from the free throw line as compared to just 7-9 for Siena. Defending America East Player of the Year Trae Bell-Haynes and Ernie Duncan rounded out UVM's double digit scorers with 10 points apiece.
Freshman forward Prince Oduro added nine points and five rebounds for Siena which was playing its eighth 20-win opponent from last year over its first 10 games to open this season. Entering play tonight, nine of the Saints' first 10 opponents held winning records and had achieved a collective record of 64-33 (.660).
Siena will now focus on final exams before returning to game action Sunday when they travel to Rhode Island to face Bryant at 1 p.m. for their third of four games in the Houzz Gotham Classic presented by TicketIQ.