Vermont dominates UMBC to capture America East crown
Burlington, VT — The Vermont Catamounts thoroughly dominated the UMBC Retrievers Saturday afternoon in the America East conference tournament championship game, defeating the defending champions, 66-49.
The Retrievers (21-13, 13-6) never led in the game. Vermont used a suffocating defense to hold UMBC to 34% shooting from the field.
The Catamounts (27-6, 17-2) outscored the Retrievers 28-14 in the paint and won the rebound battle , 38-27. Vermont also forced 13 UMBC turnovers.
America East player of the year, Vermont junior forward Anthony Lamb, was far and away the best player on the floor. Lamb scored a game-high 28 points on 8-of-16 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds.
Lamb dominated early in the paint, scoring 12 of Vermont’s first 16 points. The Retrievers tried to adjust by double-teaming him, which allowed sophomore guard Stef Smith to take over. Smith finished with 17 points.
The Retrievers battled in the first half through their struggles, only scoring 20 points. However, their defense kept them within reach and they were only down eight heading into the locker room.
UMBC scored the first three points of the second half, cutting the lead to five, but a Vermont timeout allowed them to regroup.
Lamb, though, wasn’t finished. With the double-team in the paint being somewhat effective, Lamb showed off his long-range game. He’d hit 3-of-6 from 3-point land, and over the next 2:09 Vermont would go on an 11-0 run giving them a cushion for the remainder of the game.
Junior guard K.J. Jackson led the Retrievers wth 15 points, but would commit four turnovers. Graduate student forward Joe Sherbune would tally eight points, shooting just 3-of-10 from the floor.
This is the seventh America East conference tournament championship for Vermont since winning their first title in 2003. They will get an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, where they are 2-6 all-time.
UMBC is now 2-2 in the conference championship game since joining the conference. The Retrievers will await their fate on Sunday to see if they are selected to participate in the College Basketball Invitational or the College Insiders Tournament.