Unionville, PA - The Vermont Tech men's basketball team went into the USCAA National Tournament as the #9 seed for Division II. The Knights had a stellar end of season Conference tournament, making it to the Championship game after beating thier opponents by at least 10 points in each game.
On the first day of USCAA tournament play, the Knights went up against the #8 seed team, Penn State University: Wilkes-Barre. The Knights were pumped to try to take the win after Freshman Tiaga Canor won the dunking contest a day earlier.
In the first half, it was clear that both teams came out pushing hard. After a missed basket to start the game by PSU, the Knights took the lead, but didn't hold it again until 4:48 left in the first half. Although PSU kept the lead most of the half, the Knights were right in it, never behind by more than 7 points. The Knights battled back with the help of Freshman Titus Smith (Elkins, WV) and Junior Tyrone Hilson (Chicago, IL) with 10 and 11 points respectively just in the first half. Additionally, Senior Cameron Carter (Atlanta, GA) helped on the defensive end with 6 rebounds, to aid in a deadlock score of 29-29 at the half.
The Knights came out pushing hard in the second half, but again PSU took the lead and looked like they might be able to get away from the Knights, when they went up 40-35 just 5 minutes into the second period. The Knights fought back through the middle of the period, where there were several lead changes, and finally PSU couldn't keep up. The Knights out-scored PSU 11-1 over a 3 minute period, which put the Knights up by 10 with 2:58 on the clock. PSU had their chances to catch up, but couldn't get their shots to drop, and committed a few fouls that helped seal the game for the Knights, who pulled out the win 69-57.
The Knights had 4 players in double digits, led by Junior Tyrone Hilson with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. Freshman Titus Smith also had 20 points and 7 rebounds, while Freshman Taiga Cantor (Newcastle, Australia) reached a double double with 13 points ad 10 rebounds.
The Knights play their Elite 8 game against Berkeley College (NY) Thursday evening at 5:30pm. The game will be streamed live https://boxcast.tv/view/1-berkeley-college-ny-vs-tba-894682
Additional news about the TOurnament:
Senior Cameron Carter also had 10 points and 7 rebounds on the night, bringing him up to 1005 total points in his 2 years with Vermont Tech. Congratulations to Cameron on reaching this milestone!
Taiga Cantor received USCAA National Honors by winning the dunk contest on Tuesday afternoon, before the start of Tournament Play.
Titus Smith received USCAA National Honors being names to the USCAA All-American Team as an honorable mention.