UALBANY WINS SECOND STRAIGHT AMERICA
EAST CHAMPIONSHIP OVER VERMONT, 60-59
Burlington, Vt. -- Jamar Wilson scored
22 points and Jason Siggers added 14 in
leading UAlbany to a 60-59 victory over
Vermont for its second consecutive
America East Conference championship on
Saturday, March 10 before a capacity
of 3,266 fans at Patrick Gymnasium.
The Great Danes, who won for the first
time in 10 trips to Burlington since
1925, earned a second straight NCAA
berth. UAlbany (23-9) became just the
second No. 2 seed in conference history
to beat a top seed on their home floor
in the championship final.
In a game that featured 13 lead changes
and five ties, Vermont (25-7) took a
54-53 lead on Keith Cieplicki's 15-foot
jumper. UAlbany's Brian Lillis put his
team ahead with a 3-pointer, before
UVM's Mike Trimboli hit a pair of free
throws to draw his team even at 56
Jamar Wilson, the championship's most
outstanding player who added seven
rebounds and six assists to his scoring
total, then made back-to-back baskets.
His spinning one-hander in the lane gave
his team a 60-56 lead. After Cieplicki's
steal and basket off a goaltending call
sliced the lead to one, Vermont played
for the last shot with 32 seconds left.
But Trimboli dribbled the ball off Carl
Ross' foot and Brent Wilson came up with
the loose ball and ran out the clock.
"We knew we had to rebound to have a
chance to win," said Brent Wilson. "Five
guys went to the glass throughout the
game. When I came up with the ball (at
the end), I took two dribbles, saw there
was two seconds on the clock, and threw
the ball up the floor."
The Catamounts, who won the America East
regular-season title, and had their
13-game winning streak halted, were led
by Trimboli and Marqus Blakely, who had
10 points apiece. Martin Klimes and
Cieplicki each scored nine. UAlbany's
Brent Wilson finished with six points,
all in second half, and grabbed nine
"We defended well in this tournament,"
said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. "We
convinced ourselves that we are a grind
it out team. The odds were against us.
Vermont doesn't lose in this gym; they
have both talent and passionate fans. We
knew at the end that they were going to
keep the ball. We needed to get a stop
to win the game."
UAlbany led 27-22 at halftime in an
opening period where defense was
emphasized. Both teams shot less than 40
percent from the field and each endured
a span of six-plus minutes without
scoring. Vermont built an 18-13 lead
during one of those stretches, as Marqus
Blakely delivered a slam dunk in
transition. The Great Danes answered
with 10 straight. Jon Iati's three-point
field goal ended that run.
"It's the best feeling I've had," said
America East player of the year Jamar
Wilson. "You never want to be a one-hit
wonder. You want a chance to do it
again, and we did. We played good
defense, executed the game plan, and did
a good job of rebounding against a team
that has two of the better rebounders in