The Vermont Catamounts came back from a nine-point deficit with 8:45 to go in the second half to defeat the Albany Great Danes 56-53 in Burlington to win the America East Men's Basketball Championship and clinch an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.  The America East's top-seeded Catamounts upped their overall record to 29-5 while the Great Danes end up with a 21-13 slate.  The Catamounts will find out who they meet in the NCAA's Sunday night.

With the win Vermont  extends the nation's longest winning streak to 21 straight.  The Catamounts last loss was 81-69 at Butler on December 21, 2016.  Payton Hensen led all scorers with 17 points for Vermont. Travis Charles paced the Great Danes with 16 points.

The game was tied at 27-27 at the half. The Great Danes led in rebounding 36-32 and hit on 40 percent of their field goals compared to 33 percent for the Catamounts but struggled with shooting late in the second half.

WNBF News/Roger Neel Photo

Albany failed to make a bucket over the last 4:08 of the game and went 1-11 from the field down the stretch. Overall, Vermont went 6-16 from three-point range while Albany went just 2-15 from beyond the arc