Vermont 72, UMBC 63
BOSTON (AP)—Chris Holm had 18 points and 15 rebounds and Mike Trimboli scored 20 Sunday to lift top-seeded Vermont to a 72-63 victory over No. 5 Maryland-Baltimore County and into the Catamounts’ fifth straight America East title game.
Vermont, which has won 13 in a row, will host the championship game next Saturday, with an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on the line, against the winner of Sunday’s second game between No. 2 Albany and No. 3 Boston University.
The Catamounts (25-6) won three straight titles from 2003-05 and lost to Albany in the championship game last year.
Vermont is assured of no worse than a trip to the NIT, which takes all regular-season conference champions regardless of what happens in their league tournaments.
The Catamounts trailed 29-27 late in the first half but scored the game’s next 10 points bridging the halves, and never trailed again.
UMBC (12-19) went 6:27 between points at the end of the first half and into the second, and trailed by as many as 12 before making a run. The Retrievers got within three points with 4:38 left before a 6-0 Vermont run put the game away.
Mike Cieplicki added 12 points for the Catamounts, who have won 17 of 18 games against league opponents this season.
UMBC leading scorer Brian Hodges, who scored just 7 points in the quarterfinal win over Maine on Saturday, was 2-for-12 from the floor and scored 9 points, all in the second half.
Mike Housman led the Retrievers with 20 points and eight rebounds.