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Vermont squeaks by NKU Norse in Bahamas Showcase championship game, 66-64

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By Don Owen
Special to the NKyTribune

NASSAU, Bahamas — With nine minutes remaining in the game Sunday night, Northern Kentucky University owned a 59-46 lead over the University of Vermont and appeared on its way to capturing the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase championship.

But Vermont responded with a furious rally against the previously unbeaten Norse, and Trae Bell-Haynes’ short jumper with three seconds remaining lifted the Catamounts to a 66-64 victory over NKU.

Lavone Holland

Bell-Haynes finished with 19 points for Vermont, which won the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase title and improved to 3-1.

Anthony Lamb led the Catamounts with a game-high 26 points.
Drew McDonald’s basket with 9:02 left in the game gave NKU (4-1) a 59-46 lead, but Vermont countered with a 12-0 run to get cut the Norse advantage to 59-58. Bell-Haynes netted five points during the Catamount spurt.

Lavone Holland II buried a 3-pointer with 5:42 remaining to extend NKU’s lead to 62-58, but Vermont stormed back with six straight points to take a 64-62 advantage on Payton Henson’s basket with 2:23 left on the clock.

McDonald made a pair of free throws with 1:54 remaining to knot the score at 64-all. NKU had three chances to regain the lead in the final 1:37 of the game but misfired on each attempt, setting the stage for Bell-Haynes and his winning basket.

Holland II scored 14 points to lead NKU, which shot 46.3 percent from the field. Carson Williams added 12 points for the Norse, while McDonald finished with 10 points and six rebounds. NKU had defeated both James Madison and Iona to reach the championship game.

Vermont finished with a 38-20 advantage in rebounds, with Lamb hauling down 14 boards. The Catamounts collected 11 offensive rebounds and held a 16-2 edge in second-chance points.
NKU will play at Memphis on Saturday at 6 p.m. 

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