Vermont beats UMBC, wins America East

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Vermont forward Anthony Lamb (3) shoots over Louisville forward Dwayne Sutton (24) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, in Louisville, Ky., Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) Anthony Lamb scored 28 points, and Vermont beat Maryland-Baltimore County 66-49 on Saturday to win the America East Tournament championship and earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

It was the seventh conference title overall and second in three years for the Catamounts (27-6), who lost to UMBC in last year’s championship game. They got their revenge on the anniversary of 16th-seeded UMBC’s shocking upset of top-seeded Virginia in last year’s NCAA Tournament.

Lamb, the America East player of the year, was named the tournament’s Most Oustanding Player. He went 8 for 16 from the field and had nine rebounds, and he led a strong defensive effort from the Catamounts, who held the Retrievers to 34-percent shooting.

Stef Smith added 17 points for Vermont and Ben Shungu scored nine, all in the second half. K.J. Jackson led UMBC (21-13) with 15 points, and Arkel Lamar had eight points and 11 rebounds.

Lamb hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second half to start an 11-0 run that put Vermont ahead 39-22.

Both teams got off to slow starts. UMBC missed its first six field-goal attempts and hit only five of its first 16, while Vermont was 7 for 21, missing its first six 3-point attempts. Lamb scored 12 of Vermont’s first 18 points and had 19 by halftime, when the Catamounts led 28-20.

BIG PICTURE

UMBC: The Retrievers handed Vermont its only two regular-season losses in America East play, including a 74-63 win in Burlington on Jan. 23. Lamb didn’t play in that game.

Vermont: Recent struggles against UMBC aside, the Catamounts are comfortable atop the America East. They were the top seed in the conference tournament and reached their fourth straight title game and 13th overall.

STAT PACK

The Catamounts were 1 for 7 from 3-point range in the first half but heated up after halftime, making four of their first six from beyond the arc. … Vermont shot 41 percent from the floor and outrebounded UMBC 38-27.

UP NEXT

UMBC awaits a possible bid in the NIT or another postseason tournament.

Vermont will learn its NCAA Tournament seeding and destination on Sunday evening.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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