Live updates: Vermont vs. UMass Lowell in America East men's basketball title game

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Early details from Saturday's final: Vermont rallies for America East championship.

For the ninth time in 12 seasons, the University of Vermont men's basketball team has reached the America East Conference championship game.

That fact doesn't create any less butterflies for John Becker, UVM's head coach for all nine of those appearances.

"There is a lot of anxiety, and that's natural and that's OK," Becker said during Thursday's news conference. "We all want to finish the year the right way, we all want to go to the NCAA Tournament."

The top-seeded Catamounts (22-10) are on the doorstep of back-to-back league tournament championships and the program's ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament. To get there, Vermont must beat No. 2 UMass Lowell (26-7) in Saturday's league final.

More:How Robin Duncan persuaded Dylan Penn to chase his NCAA Tournament dreams at UVM

More:Vermont is hosting both America East basketball title games: Everything to know.

Game time is 11 a.m. at Patrick Gym on ESPN2 (see below for live updates). Saturday marks the fifth time since 2017 Vermont will serve as host of the America East title game (the 2020 final in Burlington was canceled due to COVID-19).

"I'm mostly super-excited for the opportunity," Becker said. "To be able to host it again in front our incredible fans ... it's a really cool experience."

Stream info/how to watch America East championship

Date: Saturday, March 11

Time: 11 a.m.

TV: ESPN2

Stream: ESPN+

Radio: The Game

LIVE UPDATES FROM AMERICA EAST CHAMPIONSHIP

FINAL: Vermont 72, UMass Lowell 59

Vermont is back to the Big Dance for the second year in a row behind Dylan Penn's 21 points. Penn was named the tournament's most outstanding player. Matt Veretto added 15 points and Finn Sullivan supplied 14. The win runs Vermont's tournament appearances to nine as coach John Becker breaks a three-way tie with Jim Calhoun and Will Brown with his sixth league title.

Vermont shot 44.4% from the floor and 9 of 29 from beyond the arc. The River Hawks were paced by Allin Blunt's 14 points as Lowell shot 37.7% from the field. Lowell held a 43-31 rebounding margin.

Check burlingtonfreepress.com for more coverage of Saturday's America East final.

2:07 left in the second half

Sullivan puts Vermont up 63-50, the biggest lead of the game, on a 4-point play.

3:54 left in the second half

Vermont leads 57-48. Penn with 17 points to pace UVM.

7:22 left in the second half

Veretto nails back-to-back triples and then plays tight defense to force a Lowell turnover as Vermont opens its biggest lead of the game (53-46) at the media timeout.

9:35 left in the second half

Vermont up 47-41 after Penn's trey (15 points) and Veretto makes three from the line.

10:12 left in the second half

Nick Fiorillo picks up his fourth foul on a Hikim drive and is forced to check out with Vermont leading 44-41. Brooks also picked up his fourth and leaves with 13 minutes played.

12:04 left in the second half

Deloney cans a wing trey, just the fifth of the game for Vermont, and on the next possession Gibson was fouled beyond the arc and the guard converted all three from the stripe to put UVM ahead 41-37.

15:20 left in the second half

Penn is up to 12 points as Vermont opens with a 5-0 run — Penn layup and a pair of foul shots — to take a 33-32 lead. Lowell leading the rebounding margin 28-20.

First half box score:

Vermont: Penn (8 points), Sullivan (7 points), Duncan (5 points, 3 rebounds). 10 of 28 from the floor.

Lowell: Blunt (9 points), Hammond (5 points), Karim Coulibaly (5 points). 12 of 27 from the floor.

Halftime: Lowell 29, Vermont 25

The River Hawks ended the half on a 11-6 run to take a slight advantage into the intermission. Lowell led by as many as 8 on Morris' layup with 1:21 left.

3:51 left in the first half

Penn curbs Lowell's run with a driving, lefty layup around the River Hawks. Vermont shooting just 2 of 11 from three and trail 22-21 as halftime nears. Blunt leads all scorers with nine.

5:47 left in the first half

Vermont forced to call timeout as Lowell goes on a 11-3 run to lead 20-19.

7:57 left in the first half

After being held scoreless for more than four minutes, the River Hawks' Blunt and Cam Morris finish at the rim to cut the Vermont lead to 16-13. Vermont, shooting just 1 of 8 from beyond the arc, has gone cold over the last 3:16.

11:43 left in the first half

Vermont breaks out to a 14-9 lead after an 8-2 run. Duncan and Sullivan, the conference player of the year, combine for six points during the run. Vermont is 6 of 12 to start the contest.

15:32 left in the first half

Lowell out to a 7-6 lead at the first media timeout. Karim Coulibaly starts 2 of 2 in the paint for 5 points as the River Hawks take an early advantage.

National anthem, starters introduced

Vermont stands during the national anthem for the America East championship on March 11, 2023 at Patrick Gym.
Vermont stands during the national anthem for the America East championship on March 11, 2023 at Patrick Gym.

David Grippo's rendition of the national anthem gets us started from Patrick Gym for the America East men's basketball championship.

Vermont starters: Dylan Penn, Finn Sullivan, Matt Veretto, Kam Gibson and Robin Duncan.

UMass Lowell starters: Everette Hammond, Max Brooks, Abdoul Karim Coulibaly, Allin Blunt and Ayinde Hikim.

Contact Alex Abrami at aabrami@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @aabrami5.

Contact Jacob Rousseau at JRousseau@gannett.com. Follow on Twitter: @ByJacobRousseau.

This article originally appeared on Burlington Free Press: America East championship: Live updates for UVM basketball vs. Lowell