Albany headed to NCAA tournament for first time since 2007

  • Article by: ANDY GARDINER
  • Updated: March 16, 2013 - 10:18 PM

Associated Press

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Albany guard Jacob Iati found his shooting touch against Vermont late in the America East Conference championship game to carry the Great Danes into the NCAA tournament.

In two regular-season losses to the Catamounts, the senior was a combined 1-for-17 shooting and 0 for 11 from 3-point range. That changed Saturday when Iati hit two 3-pointers in the closing minutes to lift the Great Danes to a 53-49 victory and into the NCAA field for the first time since 2007.

"Finally, after what felt like 100 attempts, we were able to get Jacob free for a couple of shots," Albany coach Will Brown said. "He's a gutsy performer and he knocked them down."

Iati took only two shots all game. The first was a 3-pointer from the right wing that gave fourth-seeded Albany a 46-45 lead with 2:36 left. After a Vermont turnover, Iati nailed another long shot that provided the Great Danes enough cushion to deny No. 2 seed Vermont its sixth NCAA berth in 11 years.

"We did a great job on him all night but for whatever reason we walked away from him twice," Vermont coach John Becker said. "In championship games, somebody makes plays and for them Iati made the two plays they needed."

Albany (24-10) suffered its most-lopsided defeat of the season and was held to its two lowest offensive efforts in 70-45 and 50-43 losses to Vermont (21-11) in the regular season. But in front of a sellout crowd of 3,245 at Patrick Gym, the Great Danes snapped an eight-game losing streak to Vermont and ran their record to 3-0 against the Catamounts in America East title games. Two of those victories have come in Burlington.

Albany became the first team seeded lower than third to win the title and set a school season record for victories. The Great Danes won three conference tournament games by a total of seven points and beat the top two seeds.

"We beat a very good basketball team in a hostile environment," Brown said. "I've got a lot of respect for Vermont. They've been a model of consistency in this league for several years. I told our guys all week that there is no pressure on us. All the pressure is on Vermont. They're supposed to win, especially in their building."

Senior guard Mike Black, the tournament's most outstanding player, led Albany with 14 points, while Luke Devlin came off the bench to add 12 on 6-for-6 shooting. But it is Iati, who followed his older brother, John, to Albany, who will be in the spotlight as the team prepares for the NCAA tournament.

"I was just looking for an opportunity because I don't care that much about scoring," said Iati, who averaged 12.2 points this season. "But if I get an open shot, I'm going to take it. They were both good looks. I'm just happy they went in."

Vermont jumped to a 10-0 lead before Albany's defense limited the Cats to four baskets the rest of the half. By the break, the Great Danes had grabbed a 28-20 lead. Albany's pressure on the ball forced 11 Vermont turnovers that led to 13 points.

The Great Danes finished with 18 points on Catamount giveaways. That helped Albany cover up a 20-2 deficit in second-chance points that was tied to Vermont's 37-21 rebounding edge (16-3 at the offensive end).

"We were aggressive, I thought we were physical," Brown said. "I told our guys the only way we wouldn't win this game is if we had turnover issues today. We had nine turnovers. Mission accomplished."

Vermont, which also trailed at the half in its two previous conference playoff wins, put together another surge to start the second half. Three-point plays from Ethan O'Day and Luke Apfeld pulled Vermont to 28-26 before Albany made its first basket, more than 5 minutes into the half.

Taking better care of the basketball and picking up its defensive intensity allowed Vermont guard Sandro Carissimo got on a six-point run that gave Vermont its first lead since 10-9 when he scored on a drive to make it 45-43. That set the stage for Iati's heroics.

"I really thought we had the momentum but credit Iati for making two big shots," Carissimo said.

There was still drama left for the final minute. Iati hit both ends of a 1-and-1 foul situation to give Albany a 51-47 lead with 20 seconds left. Vermont's Trey Blue scored on a drive and was fouled to pull the Cats within a basket with 15 seconds to go. But Blue missed the free throw and Albany's John Puk, who missed three free throws in the final 1:01, then hit both halves of a 1-and-1 to finish the scoring.

"They played better than us today and they deserved to win," said Becker, who was attempting to become the first league coach to win the conference title both times in his first two seasons. "For us, just a tough day with too many turnovers.

Vermont was 1 for 14 from 3-point distance and hit only 6 of 11 free throws. Clancy Rugg and Blue led Vermont with 10 points each, and Brian Voelkel had 10 rebounds.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 2 Bottom 8th Inning
Washington 4
Baltimore 5 Bottom 7th Inning
NY Yankees 2
Kansas City 7 Bottom 8th Inning
Cleveland 0
Seattle 2 FINAL
Toronto 10
Chicago WSox 0 Bottom 8th Inning
Detroit 3
Philadelphia - LP: C. Hamels 0 FINAL
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 2
Pittsburgh 3 Top 9th Inning
Atlanta 2
Milwaukee 1 Top 9th Inning
Cincinnati 3
Tampa Bay 5 Top 8th Inning
Boston 1
Houston 0 Bottom 5th Inning
Texas 2
St. Louis 1 Top 6th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Arizona 1 Top 5th Inning
Minnesota 4
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Colorado - J. De La Rosa 9:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New England 9/29/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Carolina 0 FINAL
Buffalo 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Columbus 2
Boston 2 3rd Prd 10:18
Montreal 2
Nashville 2 3rd Prd 13:36
Tampa Bay 1
Philadelphia 0 3rd Prd 9:14
Toronto 3
Detroit 1 2nd Prd 11:01
Chicago 0
San Jose 0 2nd Prd
Vancouver 1
Arizona 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Vancouver 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close