BURLINGTON, Vermont — Top-seeded Vermont shot 47 percent from the field in the second half by pounding the ball into the paint on Saturday as the Catamounts posted a 75-60 America East men’s basketball quarterfinal victory over the University of Maine at Patrick Gym.
The Catamounts (26-6) advance to face No. 5 Stony Brook for the third time in four years in a 7 p.m. semifinal on Tuesday.
Coach Bob Walsh’s eighth-seeded Black Bears closed the season at 6-26 as UMaine suffered the program’s 14th consecutive postseason defeat since a win in 2005.
Two-time America East Player of the Year Trae Bell-Haynes and Payton Henson each tossed in 21 points to lead Vermont, which outscored UMaine 40-24 in the paint, grabbed a 39-29 rebounding advantage and outscored the Black Bears 17-6 from the foul line.
Henson scored 13 of his points in the second half, going 5-for-8 from the floor. Drew Urquhart registered a double-double for the Catamounts with 10 points and 12 rebounds, Ernie Duncan netted nine points with four assists and Everett Duncan added six points and nine rebounds.
It was the third victory of the season for Vermont over UMaine, including a 74-62 win in Bangor on Feb. 27.
UMaine, which battled the hosts to within three points 36-33 at halftime, was paced by 17 points from Isaiah White, who scored 12 of those after intermission. Aaron Calixte posted 11 points and four assists, Vernon Lowndes Jr. posted nine points and Andrew Fleming added eight points and five rebounds.
The Black Bears came out strong and built an eight-point lead less than three minutes into the game. Ilija Stojiljkovic hit two 3-pointers and Calixte scored six points in their 12-4 run.
The Catamounts countered with a 14-4 surge to tie the game 16-16 with 11:26 to play in the half. Vermont scored the last four points of the period to take a 36-33 halftime lead.
Vermont took charge during the first 5 1/2 minutes of the second half, putting together a 14-4 surge that extended the advantage to 50-37 with 14:35 left. Bell-Haynes and Henson each scored two baskets from the lane, while a hoop by Everett Duncan and two Urquhart free throws gave the hosts the upper hand.
The Catamounts built the lead to as many as 19 points before withstanding a late rally by the Black Bears.