Considering the two thrilling comebacks that ended Tuesday night’s First Four games in Dayton, Ohio, I was hesitant to write this lede too soon.
Luckily, it worked out.
Vermont led for the final 32 minutes of regulation and never allowed Lamar to get back within eight points in the second half, moving on to the Round of 64 with a 71-59 victory on Wednesday night.
Four McGlynn, the only player in Division I to lead his team in scoring without starting a game this season, had 18 points on 5-for-9 shooting to lead the Catamounts.
“It’s unbelievable. Our kids played so well tonight,” Vermont coach John Becker said after the game. “We’ve been really playing well of late and executing on both ends of the floor.”
This contest stands in stark contrast to the First Four game in Dayton on Tuesday night between Western Kentucky and Mississippi Valley State.
Whereas the Hilltoppers moved onto the Round of 64 despite turning the ball over 27 times, Vermont was efficient with the basketball, committing just five turnovers and shooting an even 50% from the floor.
Vermont now moves on to play North Carolina, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest region.
The Catamounts sneaked into the NCAA tournament after beating conference favorite Stony Brook on the Seawolves’ home floor in the America East championship game on Sunday.
Wednesday night’s win is the second NCAA tournament victory in the history of the Vermont program and the first since 2005, when the Catamounts upset Syracuse in the first round of the tournament.
Tip against No. 1 North Carolina is set for 4:10 p.m. ET on Friday.