University of Vermont men’s basketball coach Mike Lonergan wasn’t thrilled about his team’s performance in a 73-44 preseason win over St. Micheal’s today at Patrick Gym — “I thought we’d be a little bit sharper” — but he lauded the play of point guard Nick Vier.
It’s a good sign, because Vier will be a big key to the Catamounts’ success this winter. Vier played 21 minutes, scoring 11 points on 3-for-5 shooting and draining both of his 3-point attempts.
No longer playing in Mike Trimboli’s shadow, Vier will be called on to run the point this season for the Catamounts. Joey Accaoui isn’t a natural fit for the position; freshman Simeon Marsalis is but still needs to develop. That leaves Vier, who possesses all the tools to be a standout: Speed, quickness, strong ball-handling, accurate shooting, defensive tenacity.
“We just need Nick to be solid this year and cut down some of the silly turnovers,” Lonergan said. “Nick has been playing well and I expect he’ll have a great senior season.”
The biggest difference between UVM, picked second in the America East Conference coaches’ preseason poll, and St. Michael’s, tabbed 14th in the 15-team Northeast-10 Conference, is talent.
Other notable discrepancies are size and muscle: The Catamounts outscored the Purple Knights 46-16 in the paint.
“They have some big bodies,” SMC coach Tom O’Shea said. “Our guys were trying, but when you have 3, 4, 5 more inches, 30 more pounds, it’s tough.”
Hope the hometown crowd (attendance 2,598) enjoyed today’s game because the Catamounts won’t play another game in Patrick Gym until Dec. 13.
Vermont plays its first 10 games of the regular season on the road, opening Friday night at Loyola in Baltimore.
Tips-ins: Here’s the box score of today’s game and the story that will appear in Sunday’s Free Press … Rookie Luke Apfeld sat at the end of the bench in a shirt and tie, out indefinitely with a knee injury. … Vermont is 10-0 in preseason games under Lonergan. … It doesn’t get any easier for St. Michael’s, which plays at Boston College on Sunday. … The UVM women’s team also wrapped up its preseason schedule today at Patrick Gym, collecting a 90-73 win over Franklin Pierce, a NCAA Division II program. … Follow my coverage of UVM hoops on Twitter @johnfantino.