UMBC men’s basketball head coach Ryan Odom has been preaching resiliency to his team all season, and that lesson came in handy Sunday afternoon on the road against the Maine Black Bears (5-20, 3-7).
With 2:39 remaining on the clock, and the game tied 56-56, the Retrievers were shooting a paltry 6-29 from beyond the 3-point line, but that did not deter them.
They proceeded to hit three consecutive 3-pointers, two by graduate student forward Joe Sherburne, to open up a 65-59 lead with 1:13 remaining, and held on for the 67-66 victory.
Maine led for virtually the entire game, opening up an eight-point lead nearly halfway through the first half. The Retrievers (15-10, 7-3) battled to stay in the game, and finally took their first lead at 27-26 with 3:10 remaining in the first half.
The teams were knotted, 32-32, at the half, but UMBC came out of the locker room ice cold from the floor, and didn’t hit their first basket of the half until 3:06 had expired.
The Retrievers continued their poor shooting in the second half and were plagued by costly turnovers, which allowed Maine to open up a seven-point advantage with 14:38 on the clock.
The teams traded baskets, and turnovers, for several minutes until the Retrievers started to chip away at the lead, using their stingy defense to keep Maine from pulling away.
With 8:15 remaining in the game, junior guard K.J. Jackson was fouled on a made layup, and converted his free throw to draw the Retrievers even, 49-49, for the first time in the second half.
The teams combined for 28 turnovers, but the Retrievers got the best of the Black Bears, outscoring them 17-10 on points off of those turnovers.
The Black Bears were led by redshirt junior guard Isaiah White (Centennial High, Ellicott City) who poured in 17 points on 7-14 from the field. Junior forward Andrew Fleming checked in with 15 points for the home team. Fleming, though, was responsible for four turnovers.
Jackson was the offensive star for the Retrievers, finishing with a game-high 22 points. Sherburne was just off the pace with 21 points, but turned the ball over on five occasions. Junior guard Ricky Council II had a big game off the bench with 14 points, including three from long distance.
The Retrievers dressed only 10 players for the game as the injury bug continues to pester the team. Junior center Sam Schwietz was sidelined with an injury as was sophomore forward Brandon Horvath.
UMBC will continue their road trip on Wednesday evening when they take on the Binghamton Bearcats.