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Men's Basketball Grabs Big Early Lead, Throttles Hartford, 70-57
Brian Neller is now 14-of-31 from behind the arc over the last four games.
BALTIMORE- UMBC jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first nine minutes of play and went on to throttle Hartford, 70-57, at the RAC Arena.
The Retrievers won their second consecutive home game and improved to 2-3 in America East and 4-14 overall. After starting out league play at 3-0, Hartford slipped to 3-2, 10-8.
Senior guard Ryan Cook (Laurel, Md./Pallotti) led the Retrievers with 16 points, but senior guard Brian Neller (Red Bank, N.J./Christian Bros. Acad.) earned America East Player of the Game honors by hitting 5-of-10 shots from behind the arc and tying a season-best with 15 points.
Hartford sophomore forward Mark Nwakamma led all scorers with 21 points and Hawk America East Player of the Game Yolonzo Moore II added 19.
The Hawks misfired on their first 17 field goal attempts of the game as they Retrievers were steadily building the lead. Nwakamma halted the 20-0 run to start the game with by hitting the second of two free throws with 9:13 to play in the first half. The Retrievers led, 25-3, before a Nwakamma dunk accounted for the first Hawk field goal with 6:16 to play in the stanza.
UMBC led, 32-12, at the half, as they converted on 13-of-27 from the field, while Hartford missed on 26 of 29 attempts.
Hartford would chip away throughout the second half, but only came as close as 62-50 on a Nwakamma layup with 4:25 remaining. But the Retrievers would recover defensively to force five consecutive empty Hawk possessions and scored eight consecutive points to build a comfortable 70-50 lead with 2:40 to play.
UMBC was outstanding behind the arc, hitting 9-of-17 shots (52.9%), while Hartford missed its first 18 attempts overall and finished at 6-of-30.
UMBC senior forward Adrian Satchell (Windsor, Conn./Windsor) led all players by garnering a season-best 11 rebounds. Junior forward Chase Plummer (Plainfield, N.J./St. Patrick) added 12 points for the Retrievers.
Neller is now 14-of-31 (45.2%) from behind the arc over his last four outings.
UMBC has the weekend off before hosting league-leading Stony Brook on Wed., Jan. 23.