The Albany Great Danes defeated the Vermont Catamounts, 53-49, on Saturday at Roy L. Patrick Gymnasium in Burlington, Vt., to win the America East Conference Tournament and earn the league's automatic bid into the Big Dance.
Jacob Iati, who did not attempt a shot during the first 38 minutes of the game, made a pair of three-pointers in the final two minutes to give Albany a four-point advantage after Vermont took its first lead of the game since the first half on Sandro Carissimo's layup with 3:04 remaining.
Vermont hung around for a while longer, cutting Albany's lead to two after the Great Danes missed several free throws in the final minute. However, Iati and John Puk, who failed to make the earlier free shots, made four free throws inside 20 seconds to seal the victory.
Albany fell into an early 10-0 hole after Clancy Rugg's layup 2:42 into the game. However, the Great Danes rallied with an 11-0 run to take a one-point lead on Peter Hooley's layup six minutes later to set the tone for the rest of the game.
Mike Black scored 14 points and Luke Devlin added 12 points and six rebounds off the bench for the Great Danes, who will make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008, when they lost to Virginia in the first round.