Bearden sparks Buffalo past Vermont 77-71 in tourney finale

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) Lamonte Bearden scored 20 points as Buffalo capped its four-game run in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic by beating Vermont 77-71 Sunday night and sweeping its two games at the Mohegan Sun Arena to finish the tournament 2-2.

The Bulls lost at Old Dominion and at Saint Joseph's in the first two rounds before knocking off North Carolina A&T Saturday once the tourney shifted to a neutral site.

Buffalo trailed by one at the break, 30-29, but Bearden opened the second half by burying a 3-pointer to take a 32-30 advantage and both teams traded the lead.

Darren Payen dunked with 5:09 left to pull the Catamounts even at 57-57 but Buffalo made 11 of 12 free throws in the final three minutes to seal it.

Willie Conner and Blake Hamilton each contributed 14 points for Buffalo (3-2).

Trae Bell-Haynes led Vermont (2-3) with 15 points and Ernie Duncan added 14.

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