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Jackson Registers Double Figures in Fourth Straight, But Men's Basketball Drops America East Opener at Vermont
Burlington, Vt.—Junior post Robbie Jackson (Aberdeen, Md.) scored 12 of his team-high 15 points in the second half, but lapses in the latter stages of each half cost visiting UMBC, as the Retrievers fell, 73-58, at Vermont in the America East Conference opener for both teams.
Jackson, UMBC’s America East Player of the Game, has scored in double figures in four straight games. After struggling in the first 20 minutes, he hit four of eight shots from the floor and all four free throw attempts in the second half before fouling out in the final minute.
Sophomore wing Chauncey Gilliam (Columbia, Md.) added 13 points for the Retrievers. Two-time America East Player of the Year, Catamount forward Marqus Blakely, worked hard for a game-high 17 points and added 14 rebounds and seven assists.
There were 11 lead changes in the first half. UMBC trailed, 28-26, with 4:26 left in the first half when Vermont went on an 11-0 run over the next three minutes. Retriever freshman guard Nick Groce (Upper Marlboro, Md.) hit a jumper with 40 seconds to play in the half as UMBC trailed, 39-28, at intermission.
UMBC whittled the lead back to 50-45 on a long jumper by Shawn Grant (San Jose, Calif.) with 10:14 remaining and had the ball trailing, 55-49, with 8:18 remaining. But the Retrievers forced a pair of off-balance jumpers on the that possession, and the Catamounts countered with Maurice Joseph’s first field goal of the half, hit from behind the arc on a secondary break. That sparked a 16-4 surge un which gave the hosts an insurmountable 71-53 advantage with 2:38 remaining.
Joseph scored 16 points, including four 3-point field goals, to support Blakely’s efforts.
Grant added nine points for UMBC, but the Retrievers slumped from a season-high 53 percent shooting rate on Wednesday at Central Connecticut State to 38 percent (23 of 61) vs. Vermont. The Retrievers committed six of eight turnovers in the first half and forced 13 Catamount miscues.
The Retrievers are now 4-3 in America East openers, but have dropped lid-lifters in each of the past two seasons. Vermont (10-5) has now won eight of its last nine games.
UMBC returns home for its final non-conference game of the season, when they entertain Pennsylvania on Wednesday, Jan. 6.