After an embarrassing rout at the hands of Albany this past Sunday, the UMBC Retrievers got back on track with a win vs. the visiting Binghamton Bearcats with UMBC royalty, President Freeman Hrabowski in attendance.
The Bearcats came out defensively suffocating the Retrievers with a very effective 2-3 zone which temporarily shut out the Retrievers offense. The Retrievers failed to efficiently attack the gaps in the zone and were forced to force 7 early shots from outside the perimeter(going 1-7).
But a timeout 8 minutes into the game by coach Odom changed the game entirely. Odom’s biggest adjustments for his trailing Retrievers was switching to an aggressive 3-2 zone and to attack the gaps consistently and faster instead of waiting for the shot clock to wind down as they did in 5 straight possessions.
The Retrievers then finished the half making 3 of their last 5 from beyond the arch, with 8 more assists than Binghamton, three more rebounds, and 3 fewer turnovers.
The Retrievers improved also on defense as the 3-2 zone helped form a much more aggressive defensive unit which helped generate turnovers. The Retrievers forced 8 turnovers in the first half with 5 straight steals in a stint which the Bearcats went 1-13(7% shooting) closing out the period with a 36-18 lead.
The Bearcats came out again with that same stifling zone in the second half and once again it caused poor offensive play from the Retrievers. After a 25-12 run, the Bearcats cut the once 18 point deficit to within just five.
It seemed as if Binghamton might hit a Tom Brady and comeback to stun UMBC at home, right?
But as Tom Brady has his arm talent to put away games, UMBC has their three-pointer arsenal stretching from Lyles to Horvath. Even though it seemed like coach Odom wanted his 5 to penetrate the zone the Retrievers turned to their ability from beyond the arch.
But it was a Joe Sherburne deep 28ft. three with time expiring that ignited the Retrievers offense. The Retrievers then scored 12 of their last 21 points from beyond the arc going 4 for 7 in the last 10 minutes, helping secure the win.
|Leading Scorer||Joe Sherburne – 18 (11-17, 65%, 4 Three pointers)|
|Leading Rebounder||Daniel Akin – 8|
|Assists leader||K.J. Maura, Jairus Lyles, Joe Sherburne – 4|
|Team Stats||UMBC vs. Binghamton|
Freshman Brandon Horvath and Daniel Akin both got the start today and both showed progress as they both continue to develop under this program.
Akin led the team with 4 trips to the foul line shooting 50% on 8 attempts. Akin was the big reason UMBC caught a break as he drew three early fouls on Binghamton’s biggest interior threat both defensively and offensively forcing coach Dempsey to sit him for a majority of the game.
Akin made his presence felt in the paint playing excellent defense in his 23 minutes seeing action. Akin was also the leading rebounder for the Retrievers with 8. Akin also finished with 8 on the night.
Brandon Horvath also played a solid game posting 9 points on 50% shooting from the field. His confidence shooting from beyond the arch seemed to be his only flaw today, going 0-2 from downtown. Horvath was known as a sharpshooter during his time in high school which he has yet to showcase with UMBC, but this start might be the boost his confidence needed.
Starters for #UMBC – G-Maura, Lyles, F-Sherburne, Horvath (first career start), Akin
Not dressed: Lamar, Portmann, Schwietz (injury)
Bing. starters – G-Rose, Show, Davis, F-Bruce, Rodriguez pic.twitter.com/TC0DKFDpJk
— UMBC Mens Basketball (@UMBC_MBB) January 24, 2018
This was not Horvath’s best game for the Retrievers but what stood out was his aggressiveness on both sides of the ball and his efficiency on the offensive end.
The first game I watched Horvath play for the Retrievers was earlier this season vs. Central Penn College, he seemed hesitant and slightly confused. But today he was much more composed and it felt like he was comfortable in his 16 minutes of action tonight enabling him to play more aggressive on the offensive end, even notching an and-1 play.
Horvath shot the ball for the 2nd most times in his career, 8 yet shot 50%. That might seem like a low number, but 50% shooting on 8 attempts for a freshman shows you that he’s a composed and smart player who won’t force a shot every time the ball is in his hands but rather moves the ball around until he found the best shot for him. This gives you offensive efficiency and limits your wasted possessions.