Skip to main content

Upset Alert: 10-Point Underdog Earns NCAA Tournament Bid With Near-Buzzer Beater

UMBC wins conference title.


UMBC was a 10.5-point underdog against Vermont entering the America East Championship. Today, they pulled the dramatic upset.

Vermont is a consistently strong America East power. The Catamounts have won the conference tournament six times since 2003.

Just last year, UVM captured eighth conference regular season title in program history, and earned the automatic bid in the America East Tournament. The program was the regular season champs again this season.

UMBC had not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2008. That year, as a 15-seed, the Retrievers fell to Georgetown in the first round.

In their two regular season match-ups, Vermont won handily both times. However, things were different between the two programs today.

The Catamounts led by as many as nine, with 8:21 to play. UMBC kept battling back and closing the deficits every time it looked like Vermont might put the clamps down.

With 1:02 remaining, Jairus Lyles hit a jumper to tie the game at 62. At the other end, Joe Sherburne picked up a huge block to give UMBC the ball back with a chance to win.

With 0.5 left on the clock, Lyles drilled a three to give UMBC the win, and the NCAA Tournament berth.

Lyles was a monster for the Retrievers today. He scored 27 of the team's 65 points, including those two huge shots down the stretch.

The senior guard has been a standout for the last three years, after transferring in from VCU. He averaged 23 points as a sophomore, and this year leads the team with 19.9 points per game. Now, he'll have the chance to show off his scoring ability on the biggest stage.

Second year head coach Ryan Odom has done a great job at UMBC. Last year, the team reached the CIT Tournament semifinals. Now, they'll try to play Cinderella in the Big Dance.