Vermont Tops Albany to Complete Perfect Season, Wins 6th AEHoops Title - Mar 12, 2017
Vermont's perfect America East basketball season is complete. Payton Henson (6'8''-F-94)'s three-point play with just 39 seconds remaining lifted the top-seeded Catamounts over third-seeded Albany, 56-53, in the America East men's basketball championship game Saturday in front of a sold out crowd on their home court to finish their season 19-0 against conference foes and win their sixth America East championship in school history. Vermont (29-5), which has won its six titles since 2006, overcame a nine-point second half deficit to post its 21st-straight victory, the longest win streak in the country. Anthony Lamb (6'6''-F) became the first freshman to ever earn Reggie Lewis Most Outstanding Player honors after posting a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. He averaged 19.7 points and 7.0 rebounds over the three games. Lamb was joined on the All-Championship team by Henson, who scored a game-high 17 points Saturday, and teammate Dre Wills (6'1''-G), the league's Defensive Player of the Year, who contributed 10.7 points and 4.3 rebounds, in the tournament. Albany's David Nichols, who averaged 24.3 points per game in the playoffs, and Joe Cremo (6'4''-G-96) rounded out the selections. Vermont, winner of two NCAA tournament games all-time, will learn its NCAA draw during the selection show Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on CBS. Albany (21-13) is one of five America East teams that could play in the postseason next week.
Inside the Game Vermont jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead on three-pointers by Anthony Lamb and Payton Henson, but Albany scored nine of the game's next 12 points to tie the game 9-9. Albany took its first lead at 17-15 on a three-pointer by David Nichols with 10:23 left but Vermont went on a 7-0 run to take a 22-17 advantage. The game was tied 27-27 at halftime. Albany scored nine of the second half's first 11 points and took a 36-29 on Joe Cremo's three with 16:15 left in the half. Nichols' layup with 8:46 gave Albany its largest lead, 47-38 Vermont countered with a 10-1 run capped by a Kurt Steidl three with 4:37 left that tied the game. The game was still tied when Henson converted his three-point play with 39 seconds left that gave Vermont a lead it would not relinquish.
By the Numbers Albany shot 39.6 percent from the floor while Vermont shot 33.3 percent, 16.7 percent below its season average. Vermont committed just five turnovers, tied for the fourth fewest in an America East playoff game. Vermont blocked nine shots, a championship game record. Henson's 17 points came on 5-of-8 shooting. Travis Charles led Albany with 16 points off the bench on 6-of-7 shooting.
Historical Perspective Vermont's sixth conference championship ties Boston University for the second-most in conference history. John Becker improved to 12-4 all-time in championship play and won his second title. Albany's loss was its first-ever championship game defeat in its sixth game.
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