Cats wary of Hartford’s 3s

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Hartford — the University of Vermont men’s basketball team’s opponent tonight at Patrick Gym; see preview — has an unimposing 4-13 record.

But two stats might concern Catamount fans when examining the streaking Hawks: They are coming off back-to-back wins over Maryland-Baltimore County and New Hampshire, and they live and die with 3-pointers. Hartford leads the America East in 3-point shooting accuracy, having canned 132 of 168 attempts (35.9 percent). The Hawks have dropped in 7.8 treys a game, most in the league.

“They shoot so many 3s, you could be up 20 on them and they can get back in the game,” UVM coach Mike Lonergan said.

Like it has done against several opponents this season, Vermont will try to disrupt Hartford with tenacious perimeter defense. The Catamounts lead the league in field goal percentage defense (35.9 percent) and 3-point percentage defense (29.4).

“We’ve had some good defensive teams,” said Lonergan, whose teams have led the league in field goal percentage defense three of the past four seasons. “I think with this team now — because we don’t have quite the offensive firepower without (Mike) Trimboli and (Collin) McIntosh — that we have to really have strong defense because we can have some scoring droughts.

“I give our guys credit, because they’ve really worked at (defense), they’ve really taken pride in it.”

*****

Vermont thrashed Boston University on Sunday in front of Patrick Gym’s first sell out (3,266) of the season. Lonergan hopes Catamount fans pack the house again tonight for the 7 p.m. game.

“I sure hope we get a great crowd,” he said. “I don’t want our fans to wait for the Stony Brook game (Thursday night); we need them Tuesday night.

Vermont has averaged 2,693 fans in four home games this season, third highest in the America East. Here are the home attendance averages for the league’s nine teams:

Binghamton 3,113

Albany 2,693

Vermont 2,690

Maryland-Baltimore County 2,109

Maine 1,150

Hartford 1,137

Stony Brook 1,100

Boston U. 872

New Hampshire 655

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