Albany Downs Vermont to Claim Third Men's Basketball Title - Mar 17, 2013
BURLINGTON, Vt. -- For the third time since 2006, University at Albany is the America East men's basketball champion. The fourth-seeded Great Danes scored 10 of the final 14 points to down second-seeded Vermont, 53-49, in the league title game at Vermont's Patrick Gym in front of a soldout crowd and national television audience Saturday.
With the win, Albany became the lowest-seeded team to ever win the America East title. The Great Danes, just the fifth team to win the America East crown on the road, will make its third NCAA tournament appearance and learn its NCAA draw during the selection show, which will be televised on CBS, Sunday at 6 p.m.
Seniors Mike Black (6'0''-G-90) and Jacob Iati (5'10''-PG-89), two All-Championship team members, paced the Great Danes, combining for 22 points. Iati scored all eight of his points down the stretch and canned two key three-pointers, while Black finished with 14. A first-team All-America East performer, Black averaged 13.0 points over the three tournament games to earn Reggie Lewis Most Outstanding Player honors.
Clancy Rugg (6'8''-F) and Trey Blue (6'3''-G-89) each had 10 points to pace Vermont, which fell to 5-4 all time in title games.
Albany (24-10) was forced to fight back from an early deficit as Vermont scored the first 10 points of the game. Rugg, a second-team all-leaguer, capped the spurt on a layup 2:42 into the game.
The Great Danes responded however, going on an 11-0 run of their own, turning the Catamounts over five times in the stretch. Albany kept the pressure on as DJ Evans (5'9''-PG) capped another run, this one 8-0, with a 15-footer with 6:57 left in the period. The Great Danes, which shot 54.8 percent in the stanza, led by as many as 10 in the half and took a 28-20 lead into the locker room.
Vermont (21-11), which was seeking its second-straight league title and sixth since 2003, came out hot in the second half, scoring the frame's first six points to cut the deficit to two with 14:09 left. Albany was able to grow its lead back to seven on Blake Metcalf (6'9''-C-90)'s dunk with 9:28 left, two of Albany's 27 bench points.
The Catamounts, who dominated the glass 37-21 in the game, used some of its 20 second-chance points to stay in the game, which allowed third-team all-leaguer Sandro Carissimo (6'2''-PG) to take over. Carissimo scored six straight points and gave Vermont its first lead since midway through the first half on a jumper in the lane with 2:53 the Cats took a 45-43 advantage.
That's when Iati, who leads the league with 89 three-pointers this season, canned the two biggest treys of his season. The first came from the right elbow extended with 2:36 left to put the cats back up one, ,then hit another a minute later to put his team up 49-45 with 1:35 left.
The Catamounts would get within two twice on layups by Luke Apfeld (6'7''-F) and Blue, but Iati and John Puk (6'10''-C-91) each hit two free throws apiece to seal the win for Albany, its third straight and fifth in six games.
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