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GOING DANCING: Top-Seeded Retrievers Defeat Hartford, 82-65, to Earn First-Ever America East Title and Trip to NCAA Tournament
America East Coach of the Year Randy Monroe led the Retrievers to their first-ever America East title.
BALTIMOREóA hot-shooting UMBC menís basketball team jumped out to a 34-11 first-half lead and never looked back as the top-seeded Retrievers routed No. 2 Hartford, 82-65, before a boisterous record crowd of 3,810 at RAC Arena in the America East Conference Championship game to earn their first-ever league title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
UMBC (24-8) will learn its first-round opponent and seeding Sunday at 6 p.m. during the CBS Selection Show.
The Retrieversí 24 wins are a program record, and their 59.3 percent shooting in the contest is the highest ever in an America East title game.
UMBC junior point guard Jay Greene was named the tournamentís Most Outstanding Player and was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Ray Barbosa and Darryl Proctor, as well as Hartfordís Joe Zeglinski and Jaret Von Rosenberg.
The Retrievers shot 68 percent (17-for-25) in the first half and made 13 of their first 16 shots in taking a 23-point lead with 5:13 remaining in the first half. Leading by just two points, 8-6, after a Zeglinski layup at the 16:18 mark, UMBC went on a 20-0 run over the next seven minutes to take control of the game. The Hawks (18-16) missed five straight shots and committed five turnovers on their 10 possessions during the drought. The Retrievers led, 41-23 at halftime.
But the Retrievers would not be denied their chance at history, as they scored 10 straight points to put the game out of reach, 71-51, with 5:32 on the clock.
Greene scored 12 points on four three-pointers and added eight assists and six rebounds. He now has 236 assists on the season, the third-highest single-season total in America East history. Proctor led all scorers with 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting, while senior guard Brian Hodges added 13 points on three triples. Barbosa contributed 14 points.
Zeglinski led the Hawks with 17 points and buried five three-pointers to surpass 100 on the season, making him just the second player in America East history to reach that plateau.