On Dec. 21, Vermont lost at Butler, 81-69. The Catamounts haven’t lost since.
Indeed, Vermont (26-5, 16-0) has won 18 straight games – the longest winning streak in program history and the longest winning streak in the nation.
“It feels great,” Vermont head coach John Becker said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “It’s unbelievable. We haven’t lost since Dec. 21, and guys have been really impressive day-to-day, game-to-game, being ready to play. It’s been a magical run.”
Vermont went undefeated in league play, this after losing to Stony Brook in the America East Championship last March.
“I think our loss in the championship game really has been the most important thing for this group,” Becker said. “They’ve really been focused and determined and really working hard since that championship game. It’s great to see all their hard work pay off and now we’re right back with the No. 1 seed and get hopefully three home games (in the tournament). Now we have to go out there and do it.”
Vermont has used last year’s conference championship loss as motivation. The Catamounts led Stony Brook by 13 points in the second half but lost, 80-74.
“That is still an open wound and still hurts,” Becker said. “That’s what’s been motivating us all year, especially the guys. We have pictures from that championship game plastered all over our locker room as a reminder, and our guys have been laser-focused about getting back to that game. Now we got to go about our business and put ourselves back in that position, and hopefully our home crowd and our experiences from last year will pay dividends in the championship game.”
Vermont has three players averaging double figures: freshman forward Anthony Lamb, who is averaging 11.9 points, junior forward Payton Henson, who is averaging 11.4 points, and junior guard Trae Bell-Haynes, who is averaging 11.3 points.