(photo courtesy: Vermont Athletics)

Vermont Looks To Develop More Options In Final Non-Conference Date

After starting America East play 3-0 for the second straight season, Vermont will get a rare respite with their final non-conference game against Dartmouth.

Head coach John Becker said he would like to approach this game similar to the way his team played in the now-defunct BracketBuster event, which scheduled a non-conference game in late February.

“We have to keep the momentum going,” Becker said. “We have to continue to play well at home and so we need to keep pushing this and treat this like a league game.”

While the Catamounts will look to win their third straight on Wednesday night, they will also look to get some playing time for their bench. Nine players played double digit minutes in their Saturday win over Stony Brook and Becker hopes he can develop some more front court bench options for conference play.

(photo courtesy: Vermont Athletics)

Vermont head coach John Becker would like to see freshmen like Zach McRoberts (center) use Wednesday to build confidence for conference play. (photo courtesy: Vermont Athletics)

“I thought against Stony Brook [Zach] McRoberts came in and gave us a lot of energy and was fighting in there for rebounds,” Becker said. “[Drew] Urquhart had probably his best minutes for us there in the second half, he hit a three and then he missed a shot and run up and snared his rebound.”

“He’s a guy that hopefully we can continue to build him back up and get him confident and he can give us some production off the bench, because I know Zach will always play hard.”

Hector Harold, who led the team in scoring before missing four games with a foot injury, has been rusty since his return. McRoberts played an expanded role on the team’s California trip and the Catamounts could use a third big to rely on next to Ethan O’Day, who has led the way with 11.5 ppg and has been dominant at times.

Becker said that he hopes to get back redshirt sophomore Brendan Kilpatrick on Wednesday, who missed the team’s last six games with concussion symptoms.

“That’s another guy that we can get some minutes of game time, so that he can continue to work off the rust coming back from basically a month and a half off of out with a concussion,” Becker said. “It would be important to get him some minutes on Wednesday, if he’s able to go, and we have to keep getting better.”

“Our bench needs to get better, those guys continue to get minutes here, but we’ll play this game against Dartmouth to win for sure.”

Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.