Confetti began falling in the final minute and the sellout crowd came to its feet and began roaring.
The noise grew as Maryland-Baltimore County players celebrated on their home court yesterday while playing out the final seconds of an 82-65 victory over Hartford in the America East tournament championship game, which gave the school its first bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Darryl Proctor led the way for the Retrievers with 23 points, and Jay Greene, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, had 12 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds. Ray Barbosa added 14 points.
UMBC (24-8) was playing in its first title game since starting Division 1 play in 1986. The Retrievers, who won the America East regular-season title, also set a school record for wins. Hartford, the No. 2 seed, finished 18-16.
Atlantic 10 final - Temple earned its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2001 with a 69-64 victory over Saint Joseph's in the championship game in Atlantic City. Dionte Christmas led the second-seeded Owls (21-12) with 22 points. The Hawks (21-12) are in contention for an at-large berth to the NCAAs.
Big Ten semifinals - Michael Flowers intercepted a pass with 30 seconds left, and his driving layup was the difference in eighth-ranked Wisconsin's 65-63 victory over No. 19 Michigan State (25-8) in Indianapolis. The Badgers (28-4) were led by Brian Butch's 19 points . . . Shaun Pruitt scored 16 points and 10th-seeded Illinois (16-18) overpowered Minnesota (20-13) in the post to pick up a 54-50 victory and unlikely spot in today's championship game.
Big 12 semifinals - A.J. Abrams broke out of a shooting slump with seven 3-pointers and 24 points, helping sixth-ranked Texas (28-5) reach its third consecutive tournament final with a 77-49 win over Oklahoma (22-11) in Kansas City, Mo. . . . Brandon Rush scored a career-high 28 points and sealed the deal with two free throws in the final seconds as No. 5 Kansas (30-3) beat scrappy Texas A&M, 77-71, to earn a spot opposite Texas in the Big 12 title game for the third season in a row.
Conference USA final - Second-ranked Memphis completed its sweep through Conference USA, following its unbeaten regular season in league play with a dominating showing in the tournament, capped by a 77-51 thrashing of Tulsa in the title game in Memphis. Antonio Anderson scored 19 points for the Tigers (33-1).
Mid-American final - At Cleveland, Haminn Quaintance scored 16 points and top seed Kent State (28-6) closed the first half with a 16-1 run and rode that momentum to a 74-55 victory over rival Akron, claiming their second conference tournament championship in three years.
Mid-Eastern Athletic final - Tywain McKee's driving layup with two seconds left helped seventh-seeded Coppin State (16-20) upset top seed Morgan State, 62-60, in Raleigh, N.C., to claim its first league title - and first NCAA Tournament berth - since 1997.
Mountain West final - Nevada-Las Vegas (26-7) upset top-seeded and 24th-ranked BYU (27-7) in the league title game for the second straight season, routing the Cougars, 76-61, in Las Vegas behind a 23-point showing by Wink Adams, who had a 14-point flurry in the final 6:48.
Pac-10 final - Darren Collison tallied 28 points and third-ranked UCLA beat No. 11 Stanford, 67-64, in Los Angeles to earn the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins (31-3) earned their 10th victory in a row, a streak that includes an overtime victory over the Cardinal (26-7) last week.
Southwestern Athletic final - At Birmingham, Ala., Carl Lucas made two free throws with .4 seconds left, giving second-seeded Mississippi Valley State (17-15) a 59-58 victory over Jackson State and a ticket to the NCAAs.
Western Athletic final - Reggie Larry scored 31 points and top seed Boise State (25-8) ended a 14-year NCAA Tournament drought by outlasting New Mexico State, 107-102, in a triple-overtime thriller in Las Cruces, N.M.