Vermont didn’t score a whole lot of points in the greatest win in the program’s history, so it’s only right the Catamounts’ latest win was a defensive effort, too.
Despite scoring just 5 points over the final 9 1/2 minutes, Vermont held off host Stony Brook, 51-43, Saturday to win the America East tournament and earn the Catamounts their fifth NCAA Tournament bid.
In 2005, 13th-seeded Vermont shocked fourth-seeded Syracuse, 60-57, in overtime for its only NCAA Tournament victory.
Seven years later, Four McGlynn scored 14 points and tournament MVP Brian Voelkel had 5 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 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.
“In the timeouts, honest, all I talked about was defense,’’ first-year coach John Becker said. “We had a lead, we had to get stops. We had to keep it simple, defend and rebound. Fortunately, we got enough points.’’
Even though they finished with 17 points fewer than their season average, Vermont held the Seawolves to a season low.
Becker became just the second first-year coach to win the conference title, joining Karl Fogel of Northeastern in 1986.
“It’s a surreal feeling right now,’’ said Becker after the Catamounts became just the fourth visiting team to win in the 29 conference championship games. “We were talking earlier today about our first meeting in July that we wanted to be here and now we are.’’
Dave Coley and Al Rapier had 10 points each for Stony Brook (22-8).
Big East final - Chris Smith scored 15 points and Louisville withstood a closing run by Cincinnati for a 50-44 victory at Madison Square Garden that gave the Cardinals their second Big East tournament championship. Kyle Kuric added 13 points for seventh-seeded Louisville (26-9). Cashmere Wright had 16 points for the fourth-seeded Bearcats (24-10).
ACC semifinals - Florida State lost a 10-point lead in the second half before recovering to beat Duke, 62-59, in Atlanta, sending the Seminoles to only the second ACC tournament championship game in the program’s history. Michael Snaer scored 16 points, including a 3-pointer with 3:27 remaining that gave the Seminoles the lead for good. But No. 17 Florida State (23-9) had to survive some last minute scares - including missed 3-point attempts by Duke’s Austin Rivers and Seth Curry in the final six seconds. Florida State will face fourth-ranked North Carolina, the top seed, in Sunday’s title game. The Seminoles ended a run of three straight ACC tournament championships for Duke (27-6) . . . Kendall Marshall banked in a shot with 10.2 seconds remaining and No. 4 North Carolina edged N.C. State, 69-67, in a rugged game with a disputed finish. C.J. Leslie, who led the Wolfpack with 22 points, fouled out with more than eight minutes remaining. North Carolina (29-4) lost its top scorer when Tyler Zeller picked up his fifth late in the game after scoring 23 points. But it was a couple of noncalls that sent N.C. State into a tizzy. Alex Johnson went flying on Marshall’s drive, but there was no whistle. The Wolfpack (22-12) got one more crack with 1.2 seconds left, and Richard Howell thought he was fouled trying to get off a shot. A frustrated Howell had to be pulled away by teammates to keep him from going after an official.
Big 12 final - Kim English capped a phenomenal conference tournament with 19 points, Phil Pressey added 15 points and eight assists, and the fifth-ranked Tigers beat No. 12 Baylor, 90-75, in Kansas City to win their second championship in the past four years. Missouri (30-4), which led from start to finish, heads off to the Southeastern Conference next year. Perry Jones III led Baylor (27-7) with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Pac-12 final - In Los Angeles, freshman Spencer Dinwiddie scored 14 points and Pac-12 newcomer Colorado upset Arizona, 53-51, to win the league’s tournament and earn the school’s first NCAA Tournament bid since 2003. The Buffaloes (23-11), who left the Big 12, were playing in their first tourney final since 1990. Kyle Fogg scored 14 points for Arizona (23-11).
Big Ten semifinals - In Indianapolis, Draymond Green scored 14 points and had 16 rebounds, and Austin Thornton scored all 12 of his points on 3-pointers as the two determined seniors led No. 8 Michigan State past No. 14 Wisconsin, 65-52, and into Sunday’s Big Ten tourney title game against Ohio State. It’s the first time the Spartans (26-7) have played for the league’s postseason title since 2000. The Badgers (24-9) were led by Jordan Taylor’s 19 points . . . Jared Sullinger scored 24 points to help No. 7 Ohio State (27-6) roll past No. 10 Michigan, 77-55. Tim Hardaway Jr. led Michigan (24-9) with 13 points.
SEC semifinals - In New Orleans, Anthony Davis had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and top-ranked Kentucky held off Florida, 74-71, to advance to the final of the Southeastern Conference tournament against Vanderbilt. Terrence Jones added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats (32-1), who’ve won 24 straight games. Doron Lamb scored 16 points and Marquis Teague added 15, with each hitting a pair of key free throws in the last 15 seconds to secure the win. Erik Murphy had 24 points and nearly lifted Florida (23-10) to the upset with 9 points in the final minutes . . . John Jenkins scored 23 points and Vanderbilt (23-10) beat Mississippi, 65-53, to earn its first trip to the SEC title game since 1951. The Rebels (20-13) were led by Jarvis Summers, who scored 15 points.
Conference USA final - Joe Jackson led five Memphis players in double figures with 19 points and the top-seeded Tigers won their sixth C-USA tournament championship by beating Marshall, 83-57. Memphis (26-8) won its seventh straight game overall in grabbing the league’s automatic NCAA Tournament berth and the 15th consecutive tournament win on its own court.
Mountain West final - Tony Snell made four 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 14 points, and Drew Gordon had 12 points and 12 rebounds as New Mexico (27-6) overpowered top-seeded and No. 18 San Diego State, 68-59, to win the Mountain West Conference tournament in Las Vegas. Chase Tapley scored a game-high 25 for the Aztecs (26-7).
Big West final - Casper Ware scored 33 points and Long Beach State (25-8) relied on its long-range shooting to beat UC Santa Barbara, 77-64,
MAC final - D.J. Cooper scored 23 points and Ohio (27-7) held on to edge Akron, 64-63, in Cleveland to earn an NCAA Tournament berth.
Southland final - Mike James scored 26 points and Lamar (23-11) defeated McNeese State, 70-49, in Katy, Texas, sending Pat Knight into the NCAA Tournament for the first time as a head coach. SWAC final - Kevin Burwell scored 19 points and Mississippi Valley State (21-12) won the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament, holding on for a 71-69 victory over Texas Southern in Garland, Texas.
MEAC final - Kyle O’Quinn scored 18 points and Norfolk State (25-9) held off Bethune-Cookman, 73-70, in Winston Salem, N.C., for its first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title and first NCAA Tournament berth.
Division 2 first round - Brian Hamor scored 26 points and Patrick added 14 points and 14 rebounds, leading Stonehill (22-8) to a 65-61 win over the University of District of Columbia in an East Regional game in Worcester . . . Eric-Jean Guillaume hit a layup with 42 seconds left and Franklin Pierce (22-7) held on to beat Philadelphia, 59-58. The Ravens will meet Bloomfield in Sunday night’s second round . . . Akeem Williams scored 28 points but it wasn’t enough for UMass-Lowell (19-10), which fell to Bloomfield, 91-83.
Division 3 East Regional final - In Lancaster, Pa., Mitchell Kates had 21 points and eight assists and Jamie Karraker and Noel Hollingsworth combined for 31 points as third-ranked MIT (29-1) pulled away to beat Franklin & Marshall, 69-54, and earn the school’s first Final Four berth. Georgio Milligan scored 23 points for Franklin & Marshall (28-3). The Engineers will face Wisconsin-Whitewater in the national semifinal Friday night in Salem, Va.