Vermont beats Stony Brook for America East title

JIM O'CONNELL AP Basketball Writer Published:

STONY BROOK, N.Y. (AP) -- Four McGlynn scored 14 points and Vermont, despite scoring just five points over the final 9 1-2 minutes, held off Stony Brook 51-43 on Saturday to win the America East tournament and earn the Catamounts their fifth NCAA tournament bid.

Tournament MVP Brian Voelkel had five points, 15 rebounds and seven assists for Vermont (22-11), which made five free throws without a field goal after taking a 46-29 lead with 9:55 to play.

Vermont's last NCAA appearance was in 2010 and all of its bids have been since 2003.

John Becker became just the second first-year coach to win the conference title, joining Karl Fogel of Northeastern in 1986. When the buzzer sounded he threw his arms in the air and then turned to his assistants for a group hug that ended when the Vermont fans in attendance stormed the court to celebrate with the players.

Dave Coley and Al Rapier had 10 points each for Stony Brook (22-8), which lost in the conference championship game for the second straight season. The Seawolves, who have never been to the NCAA tournament, are guaranteed a berth in the NIT as regular season champions.

Both teams had thrilling semifinals wins. Vermont beat Hartford 77-73 in double-overtime. Stony Brook needed a tip-in by Dallis Joyner with .4 seconds left to beat Albany 57-55.

There was no such drama with the title on the line until the Seawolves made a run that got them within 47-43 with a minute to play. The Catamounts then made four of six free throws to seal the win.

It was a matchup of the conference's two best defensive teams.

Stony Brook finished 17 of 58 from the field (29.3 percent), including 4 of 19 from 3-point range. The Seawolves went 7 of 44 from 3-point range in the three games against Vermont this season.

Voelkel's 3-pointer gave the Catamounts the 17-point lead but that was their last field goal of the game. Coley scored eight points in a 12-2 run that brought Stony Brook within 47-41 with 5:21 left. That was the Seawolves' last field of the game, and they got within four when Bryan Dougher made two of three free throws with a minute left.

Vermont took advantage of a horrible shooting start by the Seawolves and led 22-9 with 6:30 left in the first half.

Stony Brook missed 17 of its first 20 shots from the field. Rapier made four of his first six shots making the rest of the team 1 for its first 16.

The Catamounts led 26-19 at the half shooting 47.9 percent (11 of 23) while the Seawolves made 29.6 percent (8 of 27), including only one of eight 3-point attempts.

Stony Brook plays its home games in 1,700-seat Pritchard Gym and conference rules mandate the championship game has to be played in a building that has a capacity of at least 3,000.

Stony Brook Arena, which is adjacent to Pritchard and was home to the Seawolves until three years ago, was sold out with a crowd of 4,500 and there were scalpers in the parking lot outside before tipoff.