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updated: 3/13/2010 1:09 PM

Vermont beats Boston 83-70 in claim America East title

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BURLINGTON, Vt. - Marqus Blakely scored 24 points to lead Vermont to an 83-70 victory Saturday over Boston University for the America East championship and an automatic NCAA tournament bid.

The second-seeded Catamounts (25-9) used solid shooting and stingy defense to hold Boston's John Holland to nine points and never trailed.

Blakely, Vermont's high-flying forward, hit a buzzer-beating turnaround jumper in the lane to give the hosts a 42-31 halftime lead.

Boston (19-13) shot only 40 percent but mounted a second-half rally, getting a pair of baskets from Jake O'Brien and a three-pointer by Corey Lowe to narrow it to 54-53. That was as close as they got.

Blakely had 18 rebounds and Nick Vier added 15 points for Vermont.