UMBC wins American East title, punches ticket to NCAA Tournament

Jairus Lyles' game winner sends UMBC to the Big Dance.

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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.

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.

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