College Basketball Preview: UMBC (21-12, 13-5) at Vermont (26-6, 16-2), America East conference tournament championship

For the second consecutive season UMBC men’s basketball will face the Vermont Catamounts in the America East conference tournament championship game in Burlington.  The game will be broadcast tomorrow on ESPN2.  

The third-seeded Retrievers (21-12, 13-5) eliminated the fourth-seeded Hartford Hawks in the conference semifinals at home on Tuesday evening in a double-overtime thriller, 90-85. 

The Retrievers built a 26-point lead with less than 12 minutes remaining in the game on the strength of their defense and hot shooting.  The Hawks, though, would not go away quietly, and led by their seniors, they mounted a monumental comeback. 

Guards J.R. Lynch and Travis Weatherington, and forward John Carroll took over the game for the Hawks, forcing it into overtime.  UMBC, though, would ultimately prevail after Carrol and Lynch fouled out in the overtime sessions.

UMBC was led by junior guard K.J. Jackson, who scored 21 points, and sophomore forward Brandon Horvath, who contributed 14 points off the bench.

With the win, UMBC has advanced to the America East tournament championship game for the fourth time since joining the conference in 2003.  They are 2-1 in those previous games, winning in 2008 and 2018, and losing in 2009.

Graduate student Joe Sherburne leads UMBC in points per game, averaging 14.1 with Jackson chipping in 12.8.  The Retrievers have been defensive-minded all season, allowing just 68.1 points per game.

Vermont (26-6, 16-2), the #1 seed and regular season champion, eliminated the seventh-seeded Binghamton Bearcats, 84-51, Tuesday evening at home.

Junior forward Anthony Lamb leads the Catamounts in scoring, coming in at 21.1 points per game.  Redshirt senior guard Ernie Duncan checks in with a ppg average of 14.0.  Vermont is 9-1 at home this season in conference games.

The Retrievers swept the season series from the Catamounts, winning, 74-61, on January 23rd at Patrick Gymnasium, and, 65-56, on February 21st in Catonsville.

Tip–off tomorrow is scheduled for 11:00 am.

Tom Martin

Husband, father of three. Baltimore born and raised. UMBC '94. Follow me on Twitter -- @martymar1970

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