Getting Vier back on point

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University of Vermont men’s basketball coach Mike Lonergan was satisfied with Joey Accaoui’s performance during his eight-game stint as starting point guard.

But he opted to return Nick Vier to the starting role Saturday for a couple of reasons.

In order to have a successful stretch run, the Catamounts need Vier, who has been in a “funk” this season, to regain his confidence and reach his potential. Vier took a step in that direction during UVM’s runaway win over Albany on Saturday at Patrick Gym.

“Nick played one of his better games this year,” Lonergan said. “He didn’t shoot well, but he played the way we need him to play: Put defensive pressure on (Albany’s) point guard the entire game and set the tone for us defensively, which allowed Garvey (Young) to get up on his man. For the first time in a while, we didn’t allow another team’s best players to hurt us.”

Under the weight of heavy expectations, Vier’s play has been erratic this winter and he tumbled out of the starting lineup at the beginning of January.

“Joey has done a good job, but for us to reach our goals, I think we really have to have Nick be our point guard,” Lonergan said. “Joey will play minutes at the point. Joey struggles getting good shots from the point-guard position. It’s easier for him to get open shots when he plays off the ball. He got some good shots from playing on the wing (against Albany). I think it worked well.”

*****

The Catamounts learned today they will face Fairfield in the ESPNU BracketBusters’ series. The game will take place either Feb. 19 or Feb. 20 at Patrick Gym.

Vermont was one of 98 teams selected to play in the BracketBusters event, designed to give mid-major programs publicity. The Catamounts’ game against Fairfield is not one of the 11 ESPN has scheduled to televise. It’s safe to assume the Cats fell out of consideration for a TV game after their three-game losing streak.

Fairfield has a 15-7 record and is in third place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with an 8-4 mark.

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