Brian Hodges hit six of nine shots from behind the arc, including his second career game-winning three-pointer.
Baltimore, Md,-Senior guard Brian Hodges (Upper Marlboro, Md.) hit a 23-footer at the buzzer to give host UMBC a thrilling 86-85 win over Hartford in a match-up of early contenders in the America East Conference.
The Retrievers improved to 12-6 overall and 4-1 in the conference, while the Hawks dropped to 8-10 overall.
Hodges was UMBC’s America East Player of the Game with 24 points, while Hartford’s junior power forward Warren McLendon earned the honor for his squad with a career-best 29 points.
The game featured 16 ties and an astounding 27 lead changes. In the final 11:47, neither team led by more than three points. Hartford’s Warren McLendon hit a pair of free throws with 1:24 remaining to the give the visitors an 83-80 lead, but UMBC senior guard Ray Barbosa (Allentown, Pa.) hit a three-point field goal on the next possession to knot the score at 83-all with 1:07 to play.
Hartford got two chances on its next possession after a held ball situation and sophomore guard Joe Zeglinski hit a 14-footer to give the Hawks an 85-83 advantage with 29 seconds remaining. UMBC nearly turned the ball over, but head coach Randy Monroe called a time-out with 3.9 seconds remaining. Junior forward Darryl Proctor (District Heights, Md.) inbounded the ball to Hodges, who took one dribble and stepped back well outside the arc, and then launched the game-winner over Hartford’s Michael Turner from just to the left of the top of the key.
“It was on line when it left my hands…I’m just glad it went in,” said Hodges, who also hit a game-winning shot vs. Binghamton in similar fashion in his freshman season.
When asked if the play was designed for Hodges, Monroe said, “Absolutely. He is as good as anyone in shooting the basketball, so the play was set up for him. It was a no-brainer.
Hodges, who now has 1,399 career points, hit six of nine from behind the arc, including five of seven in the second half. Proctor recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 19 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Senior guard Ray Barbosa (Allentown, Pa.) added 13 points and a career-high eight assists.
McLendon dominated the paint, converting on 11 of 16 from the floor and posted a double-double with a team-high 10 rebounds. Zeglinski scored 25 points for Hartford, and freshman forward Morgan Sabia was a perfect six-of-six from the floor in a 16-point effort.
Hartford hit 33 of 60 shots from the floor (55 percent) and 16 of 25 in the second half. UMBC countered by hitting 14 of 25 from behind the arc (56 percent).
The Hawks controlled much of the first half and led by as many as seven points on two occasions before settling for a 41-38 halftime edge. UMBC built its largest lead at 61-55 with 12:31 remaining, but a quick 7-0 run by the Hawks erased that advantage.
UMBC had lost three straight games decided by six points or less, including Saturday’s 77-74 setback to Maine. Hartford still leads the competitive series, 5-4, as the last five games have been decided by eight points or less.
The Retrievers head back on the road for games at Binghamton on Saturday and at Boston University next Tuesday.