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Men's Basketball Falls at Central Connecticut, 58-54
All three UMBC losses have occurred on Tuesday nights this season and the Blue Devils have now won six straight in the series. Central is now 15-14 all-time vs. UMBC, having won 11 of the past 15 meetings in the Retrievers’ most-played series at the Division I level.
The Retrievers never led, shooting a season-low 31.3% from the floor and scoring nearly 26 points below their season average. Central took a 12-3 advantage less than five minutes into the game, hitting five of their first seven shots, including two behind the arc. They would extend the advantage to as large as 33-18 with 3:06 to play in the half, but Ray Barbosa’s three just before the horn cut the deficit to 33-23 at intermission.
Central rebuilt the lead to 14 points early in the second half before UMBC rallied. Trailing 48-35 at the 10:24 mark, the Retrievers outscored Central, 12-2 over the next five minutes to come within 50-47 with 5:27 to play.
The Retrievers would get as close as 53-52 on a Darryl Proctor layup with 2:19 to play. The game’s biggest possession would occur next, as CCSU’s Tristan Blackwood tossed up a desperation three-pointer with the shot clock winding down, but Retriever guard Jay Greene was whistled for a three-shot foul. Blackwood sunk all three shots to restore a four-point advantage with 1:45 to play.
UMBC did have two chances in the final 20 seconds. With Central leading, 56-54, Blackwood committed a palming violation. But Barbosa drove too far under the basket, and UMBC guard Brian Hodges committed a foul after Barbosa’s missed attempt. Central’s Ken Horton hit one of two free throws, and Hodges’s three-point attempt from the right wing fell mysteriously several feet short with four seconds left.
Despite a first half ankle injury and second half cramping, Barbosa led UMBC with 16 points. Proctor (5/14 fg) and Hodges (3/13 fg) scored 13 points apiece, posting double figures for each of UMBC’s ten games. Hodges moved into eighth place on UMBC’s all-time scoring list, now with 1,262 points.
UMBC managed 21 offensive rebounds and forced 18 Central turnovers, but has now lost two straight in games decided by six points or less.
Retreiver senior forward Cavell Johnson, who leads the America East Conference in rebounding, missed his second straight game due to illness.
The Retrievers return to action on Saturday when they travel to