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Mitch's Sports Report: UVM Hangs Tough With FSU But Falls Short In NCAA Upset Bid; Sayonara Ichiro

They did more than just hang tough with Florida State, the University of Vermont men's basketball team put a real scare into the Seminoles and very nearly pulled off a first round upset in the NCAA playoffs in Hartford, Connecticut Thursday.

The 13th seeded Catamounts got 16 points from big forward Anthony Lamb but otherwise employed a small ball line-up to keep the Seminoles scrambling on defense, and FSU had no answer for the long ball, with UVM hitting 16 of their 32 attempts from beyond the arc.

That strategy kep things tight at half time, and the game see-sawed in the second half with multiple lead changes, neither team able to pull away until FSU wore down Vermont in the paint, keeping Terance Mann on the floor even as he got into foul trouble.

In the end his 19 points along with Mfiondu Kabengele, who finished with a double double of 21 points and 10 rebounds, was too much for UVM to contain, and they lost for the first time in seven games 76-69.

This was an outstanding effort and a real showcase for John Becker's team on a national stage, and multiple players had double figures, the trio of Stef Smith, Ernie Duncan and former Rice Memorial star Ben Shungu each pouring in 15 points. And history was made as well. It was the first time three brothers ever played together in the same NCAA tournament game. The Duncans--Ernie, Everett, and Robin Duncan--all saw action at some point during the contest.

The Catamounts' 2019 season, despite not pulling off the school's first 13-seed vs 4-seed upset since the 2005 team that beat Syracuse, was a resounding success, with an America East championship and a 27-7 record to provide inspiration for next year.

To the pros and in the NHL the Boston Bruins are getting healthy at the right time, and are solidifying their chances of hosting the first round of the NHL playoffs with the Toronto Maple Leafs their likely first round opponent. Last night in New Jersey the Bruins got their second win in a row on their current four game road swing, beating the Devils 5-1 in a game that saw David Pastrnak score his first goal since missing five weeks to recover from surgery on a torn tendon in his thumb.

Pastrnak took a perfect saucer pass feed across the crease from Brad Marchand to knock in the goal, his 32nd of the season. The third member of that top line, Patrice Bergeron, scored twice and David Backes potted a goal as did Danton Heinen and the Bruins have a six point lead over Toronto for second place in the Atlantic division with 8 games left to play in the regular season. Tuukka Rask made 22 saves in net for the win.

While the Bruins are looking to secure home ice, the Montreal Canadiens are looking to just get in to the playoffs and they took a big step in the right direction last night with a 4-0 win over the NY Islanders at the Bell Centre. Carey Price made 27 saves for the win in net and forward Jonathan Drouin, who hadn't potted a goal since February 7th, scored once and assisted on another in a victory that vaults the Canadiens into sole possession of the second and final wild card slot, one point now ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who lost 4-1 to the non-playoff bound Edmonton Oilers last night.

The Habs have now won two in a row after losing two straight and every game from now til the end of the season will essentially be a playoff game for them as they try to hold off the Blue jackets for that last wild card berth.

Finally, the Seattle Mariners are 2-0 to start the 2019 MLB season, which has officially begun, with the Mariners having played two games, both wins, against the Oakland A's to start the season in Tokyo, Japan, and that is fittingly where fans of sure-fire future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest players ever to take the field, Ichiro Suzuki, said sayonara to his astonishing career yesterday.

The now 45-year old outfielder, the greatest right fielder other than perhaps Roberto Clemente, was inserted into the game in the 8th inning and then walked off the field to a prolonged, resounding ovation to say goodbye when the inning ended. He began his career as an 18 year old phenom in Japan in 1992 and debuted in America seven years later, racking up 3,089 hits over a 19-year career in the big leagues. His combined total of 4,367 hits between the US and Japan is a professional record.

No one played the game with more poise, speed, precision, and grace than Ichiro. If I could choose one player over the last twenty years that I wish had played his career in a Red Sox uniform, it would be him. We may never see the likes of Ichiro for another generation, if ever again.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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