After UMBC’s toughest loss of the season, coach Odom has found a way to get his crew back on track, winning 3 straight against conference rivals Binghamton, Maine and Stony Brook.
UMBC took care of Maine 86-74 in what was the last game at the RAC arena, which has been the home of UMBC basketball for over 40 years.
Along with the Retrievers ending off their run in the RAC on a good note, senior Jairus Lyles put up a game-high 34 points in his last game there.
The game started off pretty evenly with 6 of the 7 lead changes occurring in the first half. But the second half was a completely different story, as it turned into the Lyles and company show.
Lyles scored 24 of his 34 in the second period of the game which was controlled by the Retrievers, for the most part, even leading by 22 at one point. Lyles shot 52% from the field and accounted or assisted on 45% of UMBC’s points.
Leading rebounder in the game was America East Rookie of the Week, Daniel Akin with 10. Akin also went 4-4 from the field with 9 points in his 9th straight start for the Retrievers.
Akin and Lamar’s solid interior defense on the Black Bears two forwards Fleming and Stojiljkovic limited their production as they combined for 12 points on 6-14 shooting. Akin alone out-rebounded the Black Bears two forwards.
Jourdan Grant coming off a great game vs. Binghamton struggled a bit off the bench for the Retrievers. Grant in 22 minutes of action shot 3-15 from the field along with 6 turnovers.
On the other hand, Max Curran had a big contribution off the bench scoring 12 points off 60% shooting from the field. Curran also gave the Retrievers a boost on the glass, coming up with 3 big offensive boards.
Before the Retrievers open up play in their new arena, they had one more stop north against the Stony Brook Seawolves, which proved to be a tougher test than the Bear Cats.
After a 12 point win against the Black Bears the Retrievers survived the 6th seeded Seawolves by just 4 points.
It was a pretty even game for the most part.
Interestingly enough, although the Seawolves shot better from the field and from the 3 point line, the Retrievers led pretty much all game at one point by 15.
The Retrievers collectively struggled on offense but were able to get 23 points off 17 forced turnovers vs the Seawolves.
Neither team shot well from beyond the arc. Stony Brook shot 26.9% while UMBC shot just 23.8%(3rd worst against conference teams) which is quite surprising as the Retrievers have drained the 5th most threes this season and are ranked top 30 in 3pt%.
This was Arkel Lamar’s first game back after a minor injury suffered during practice last week and he picked up right where he left off. Lamar scored 11 points while shooting 63% on 8 total shots in 17 minutes and was one of two players with double digits scoring.
If you follow UMBC sports, I’m sure you can guess who the other was.
Here’s a hint.
Oh, you don’t need one?
Well yeah, you’re right it was indeed Jairus Lyles!
Jairus Lyles coming off a 34 point night was the Retrievers man of the match once again. Lyles scored 24 points along with 5 assists and 9 rebounds, which were all game highs. In fact, both Lyles and the Retrievers bench outscored the 4 other UMBC starters.
Lyles did play 40 minutes which is insane and not part a healthy recipe to a team’s success but coach Odom had no other choice as the rest of the cast weren’t very productive on the offensive side.
Although Sherburne accounted for 30% of the teams steals in the game and had a decent game defensively he struggled offensively, shooting 3-14 just two games after his 18 point performance.
Horvath struggled in his third straight start shooting 33% while seeming slightly skeptical of his own shot in just 11 minutes of action.
And after 4 straight double-digit games, K.J. Maura has gone completely cold in the last 5 games. In that span, he has shot a combined total of 27%. Maura like Sherburne is playing well defensively but their struggles offensively need to come to an end this week as UMBC hosts 1st ranked Vermont.
The Retrievers are now 16-8 on the season putting them 2nd in the America East Conference, two games behind the 1st place Vermont Catamounts and one behind the Hartford Hawks.