UMBC won its first American East title in 10 years after defeating Vermont 65-62 on Saturday.
Retrievers’ graduate transfer Jairus Lyles delivered the game’s defining moment when he converted a top of the key three-pointer, which gave UMBC a three-point lead with 0.6 seconds left in the second half.
America East Champs!
Jairus Lyles nails the 3 with only .5 seconds remaining to put UMBC past Vermont 65-62 and send them to their first NCAA tournament in 10 years.pic.twitter.com/9PgeSgbK7E
— CollegeBB News (@CollegeBBNCAA) March 10, 2018
Lyles finished with a game high 27 points and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Lyles was the only UMBC player to score in double figures.
The Retrievers were down 57-48 with less than nine minutes to go in the game. UMBC managed to stage a 10-3 scoring run, which was capped off by Max Curran’s dunk that tied the game at 60.
Vermont’s Payton Henson made a pair of free throws to put his team up 62-60. Lyles ended up scoring the final five points and sending UMBC to the NCAA Tournament.