A spot in the American East championship is on the line as rivals Vermont and UMBC meet at Roy L Patrick Gymnasium in the tournament semifinals.
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The game (7 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on TV, but anyone in the U.S can watch UMBC vs Vermont live on ESPN+:
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UMBC vs Vermont Preview
UMBC and Vermont have grown accustom to meeting with in the tournament, albeit its been one step later. The programs have met up in the championship game the last two seasons, each winning one.
“This game has been a chess match back and forth,” Vermont coach John Becker told the Burlington Free Press. “They have good players, they have a couple guys on the team with championship DNA, that trickles down. I think they are a well-coached team … (it’s) become a little bit of a rivalry and that’s good, that’s good for our league.”
The Catamounts and Retrievers split their season series as well, each winning on each other’s floor. However, Vermont’s victory was much more convincing, winning by 24 on Jan. 11. UMBC managed to squeak out a 66-64 victory on Feb. 22
“Our guys are really confident right now and we are coming off a loss to them and there should be plenty of motivation,” Becker said. “They will certainly have our attention, what happened last time and what happened in the championship game a couple years ago.”
UMBC is familiar to the national audience for its upset of No. 1 seed Virginia back in 2018 as a No. 16 seed.
“You think about all the time you spent in the summer here,” guard K.J. Jackson told Press Box. “You think about your teammates and how much they put in work, how many hours your coaches stay up going over game plans and stuff to help [their] guys win, all the fans that come out no matter what our record is or what’s going on with the season — who’s playing and who’s not. It’s just a collective thing that drives you forward and pushes you on top of the fact that it is my senior year.”
UMBC arrived in the semifinals by beating New Hampshire 73-67 in the semifinals. Jackson had 20 in that game, while RJ Eytle-Rock added 15.
“I thought the key moment for us was in the middle of the second half where our defense kind of kicked in, and we were able to execute several times in a half-court where we got some clean looks and separation,” UMBC coach Ryan Odom told reporters after the game. “I thought the defense was solid throughout.”
Vermont blasted Maine in its quarterfinal, 61-50. Everett Duncan and Anthony Lamb both scoring 19 points in the victory.
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