STORY: #2 UMBC only team from Maryland to play in 2017-18 NCAA Tournament after pulling off Upset vs. #1 Vermont

Vermont’s Trae Bell-Haynes won the America East Conference player of the year for the second year in a row over UMBC’s Jairus Lyles.

Jairus Lyles averaged 5 more ppg, .3 fewer assists than Bell-Haynes, was one of two guards to be top 10 in Rebounds while leading the America East Conference in steals.


Lyles was robbed.


Today the two dueled it out both putting up impressive performances in the America East Conference Championship: Bell-Haynes with 18 pts & 5 assists. and Lyles with 27 pts & 3 assists.


62-62. 9.1 seconds left. UMBC ball. Lyles pulls up from deep and IT’S GOOD!


Thanks to that shot, the Retrievers are your 2017-18 America East Conference champions in a game which will no doubt go down in UMBC history as the Golden Retrievers clinched their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008.


Oh, guess who’s face he sunk it in. 2017-18 America East Player of the Year: Trae Bell-Haynes.


Haynes won the battle, Lyles won the war.


This was the third game between these two teams this seasons, the first in which UMBC came out on top. In fact, in the two games, these teams played the Retrievers lost by an average of 21.5 points.


Turns out third time is really the charm.


Even though the Catamounts were the double-digit favorites, UMBC was in control for most of the first half, leading 37-35 going into the break. It wasn’t until early second half when Vermont began to take over leading by 9 at one point. In fact, Vermont was the better team statistically, they shot more efficient, outrebounded UMBC and shot better from the line.


I myself thought that Vermont was gonna pick up their 24th consecutive win vs. UMBC.


But as all season the Retrievers made their money off turnovers which led into fast break points and that’s what essentially kept them in the game vs. the Catamounts. The Retrievers had 5 players with at least a steal helping them win the turnover game 13-4 leading to 23 points off those turnovers compared to just 6 for Vermont.


Nonetheless, the Retrievers pulled off an upset at the house of the defending America East Conference champions in Burlington, Vermont snapping their 23 game losing streak against the Catamounts.


The Retrievers will now head into selection Sunday awaiting their bracket placement and seeding before the start of the tournament the 13th of March.


Nahom Nega

I'm a current freshman at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, majoring in Media and Communications and Finance. I'm a huge Ravens, Wizards, Arsenal, Retrievers, Blue Devils and Lebron Fan. I've been writing for MD Sports Blog since October of 2017.

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