In the first of eight conference championships Saturday that are the only chance for both teams to make the tournament, No. 4 seed Albany survived a furious comeback by #2 seed Vermont to win the America East Tournament. The Saturday starting times for the other seven games are below (all times Eastern):
3:30 pm Prairie View A&M vs. Southern
4 pm North Carolina A&T vs. Morgan St.
5:30 pm Western Michigan vs. Akron
7:30 pm Stephen F. Austin vs. Northwestern St.
8 pm Weber St. vs. Montana
9:30 pm UC Irvine
10 pm - New Mexico St. vs. Texas Arlington
Albany (25-10) last made the Dance in 2007, and became only the fifth team to win the championship game on the road in the America East Tournament.
Mike Black scored 11 in the first half as fourth seed Albany (RPI 145) took an 8 point halftime lead over second seeded Vermont (RPI 125). The Catamounts trailed by as much as 10 in the second half.
The Catamounts were only 1-14 from 3-point land, missing a crucial three with under 10 seconds to go.
Vermont was down most of the game, but took the lead with 2:50 to go on a layin by Sandro Carissimo.
Albany took it back with a 3-pointer from Jacob Iati with 2:30 to go. Another three from Iati pushed Albany’s lead to 4, a lead they would not relinquish.
Vermont had to foul several times due to Albany not being in the bonus, which stalled Vermont’s attempts at a comeback.
Albany is expected to be a 15 or 16 seed in the NCAA tournament.