The UMBC men’s basketball team was a double-digit underdog in Saturday’s America East tournament final against Vermont. It hadn’t beaten the Catamounts in 23 straight games. The Retrievers would have to win in Burlington.
Enter Jairus Lyles. UMBC’s star guard hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with less than a second left to lift the program to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2008.
With the 65-62 win, second-year coach Ryan Odom tied a program record for victories in a single season (24). The Retrievers will learn their NCAA tournament opponent Sunday night when the 68-team bracket is revealed.
Lyles scored 27 points to lead the second-seeded Retrievers to their second conference title and second trip to the NCAA tournament.
Trae Bell-Haynes scored 18 for Vermont (27-7).