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USIU Uses 3-Pointers to Beat Vermont, 74-63

U.S. International University hit two 3-point baskets when it needed them most and then pulled away from Vermont for a 74-63 victory.

USIU was having a dismal night as the Gulls missed their first 12 3-point shots and finished just 2 of 15. The 3-pointers USIU made, however, came at a key moment against Vermont.

The Gulls led, 55-54, when Tim Moore came off the bench and hit USIU’s first 3-pointer of the game at 10:16 in the second half. After a basket by each team, freshman point guard Willie Davis banked a shot from the top of the key with 8:20 remaining to give USIU a 63-56 lead--its biggest of the game.

“When I came down (the court), it was in my eyes so I thought I’d take it,” said Davis, who played at Morse High School. “I knew we weren’t making that many shots. When I made it, everyone was pumped up and we were ready to take it.”

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Vermont (1-6) rallied on an inside basket and a free throw by center Joe Calavita to cut the margin to 63-59. The Gulls, however, outscored the Catamounts, 11-2, over the next 5:43 to win their second consecutive game and third of their last 4.

The Gulls (6-9) needed the victory in order to build some momentum going into their 2 biggest games of the season. The Gulls play host to St. Mary’s Wednesday and high-scoring Loyola Marymount on Saturday.

“I told the guys before the game that this was a pivotal part of our season to attain our goals as regarding the win column and we have to go into St. Mary’s and Loyola up,” USIU Coach Gary Zarecky said.

USIU didn’t look as if it would get the momentum as the Gulls were in the process of shooting themselves out of the game.

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The Gulls threatened to run away in the first half, scoring 8 consecutive points to erase Vermont’s biggest lead of the game at 28-23 and take a 31-28 lead with 3:11 left. USIU, however, did not score again until Davis hit a free throw with 27 seconds remaining. But Vermont was not able to take advantage and scored just 3 points during the span.

The teams were tied, 34-34, at the half as Demetrius Laffitte of USIU hit a 14-foot shot from the left side with 1 second left.

USIU shut down Calavita, Vermont’s 6-11 center, in the first half. Calavita had 3 fouls and scored just 3 points and had 3 rebounds. Calavita, who finished with 14 points and 5 rebounds, played most of the second half and fouled out after 2 fouls within 12 seconds at 2:32.

Laffitte had 12 points and 11 rebounds at the half and finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead USIU. Point guard Steve Smith had one of his better games, scoring a game-high 18 points and with only 1 turnover.

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