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Mitch's Sports Report: Seniors Lead UVM Over Harvard; St. Mike's Nets 2nd Win; Shiffrin Record?

The University of Vermont mens' basketball team played its last non-conference game of the season yesterday, taking on the Harvard Crimson at Patrick Gym and coming away with an 82-71 victory to improve their record to 10-5 on the season.

UVM seniors Darren Payen, Dre Wills, and Kurt Steidl all turned in great performances, especially Payen, who scored a career-high 21 points. Steidl hit a season high with 17 and Wills drew the assignment of containing Harvard's leading scorer Bryce Aiken, which he did to the tune of 16 points, but only two in the second half. Spreading the offense around put a smile on coach John Becker's face, since the Catamounts are still finding ways to win without the injured leading scorer and rebounder Payton Henson. UVM gets ready to open America East conference play against the Black Bears in Maine on Thursday.

Elsewhere in mens' college hoops, the St. Michael's Purple Knights had won just one game in 2016 but tipped off 2017 on the winning side, notching their second victory with a big offensive night against the NY Institute of Technology in a 98-85 win at the Ross Sports Center last night. Matt Bonds continued his monster season with a double-double of 21 points to go with 18 rebounds as he dominated the boards all night. Teammate Levi Holmes matched Bonds with 21 of his own as the Purple Knights improve to 8-0 all-time against the Bears.

The Norwich Cadets played a tight, tense game against Lesley in Newton, Massachusetts last night, and led most of the way until faltering at the end in a one-point, 61-60 loss. Lesley's Will Gibson hit a three-pointer with about 90 seconds to go to hand the Lynx the victory. Junior Ryan Booth led the Cadets with 14 points in the losing effort as Norwich drops to 4-6 on the year.

In womens' college hockey the Middlebury Panthers know they let one get away last night. Leading the undefeated and second ranked Elmira Soaring Eagles 2-0 on goals by Elizabeth Wulf and Maddie Winslow, the Panthers had to settle for a 2-2 tie when the Eagles got one back with about three minutes to go in regulation, and then got the tying strike with just 60 seconds left on the clock thanks to a goal by Lippiatt Durnell, jamming away at a rebound near the post. The sixth ranked Panthers are now 5-2-1 on the season while Elmira remains undefeated at 7-0-2.

Mikaela Shiffrin could etch her name in World Cup history today. The Burke Mountain Academy Ski club graduate has won three consecutive World Cup Giant Slalom races in as many days, and will compete in another later today in Zagreb, Croatia. If she wins that race it will give her 27 World Cup victories, equaling the mark set by Phil Mahre for third place all time in World Cup wins, trailing only Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn. Another mark would bet set as well: If Shiffrin wins today it will be eight consecutive wins, combing slalom and Giant Slalom, and that would match the women’s record of eight consecutive World Cup slaloms victories achieved before the age of 22 by the legendary Swedish skier Ingemar Stenmark. Shiffrin is still just 21 years old and holds a large 215 point overall World Cup lead over defending champion Lara Gut.

In the NHL last night the Boston Bruins had a chance to build a mini-winning streak after back to back wins against the Buffalo Sabres but they turned in a dud against the Devils in New Jersey, getting shut out 3-0. The B's rarely tested Devils goalie Corey Schneider who picked up the goose egg needing to make just 22 saves on the night.

And in college football, defense? We don't need no stinking defense! That seemed to be the rallying cry for both the Penn State Nittany Lions and USC Trojans who let their offenses run wild against each other in the Rose Bowl last night. USC came from behind, scoring 17 unanswered points to win the game 52-49 on a last second 46-yard field goal by Matt Boermeester, who had missed two previous tries. But he nailed the most high pressure one when it counted, giving USC the epic win.