BALTIMORE—Junior guard Chris De La Rosa (Washington Heights, N.Y./All Hallows/Siena) posted his third double-double of the season with game-highs of 20 points and 11 assists, but the visiting Retrievers fell at Morgan State, 75-62.
But Morgan State hit 23 of 38 shots (60.5 percent) for the game and hit 18 second-half free throws to withstand a UMBC rally.
Morgan hit 15 of 25 shots from the floor in the first half and used a 10-0 run midway through the half to lead by as many as 22 points at 34-12 with 4:08 to play in the half. The Retrievers would claw back, ending the stanza on a 15-6 run to cut the deficit to 40-27 at the break.
UMBC continued to inch its way back in to the game, as the visitors started the second half on 11-6 run and closed to within 46-38 with 11:34 to play.
The Bears were leading, 51-40, and UMBC had the ball when the Retriever surge came to an abrupt halt.
With eight minutes remaining, Plummer drove to the basket and hit the deck hard, and Morgan's Tola Lawal snared the rebound and passed down court to DeWayne Jackson for an uncontested dunk. As UMBC brought the ball up the court, head coach Randy Monroe was assessed his second technical foul and ejected from the contest.
UMBC go without a field goal for four minutes as the hosts completed 18-6 scoring run and built a 64-44 advantage before a De La Rosa layup with 3:36 to play.
The Retrievers did not relent, as sophomore guard Brian Neller (Red Bank, N.J./Christian Bros.Academy) hit three late treys, the final one from nearly 30 feet, bringing UMBC to within 69-59 with 1:28 to play. Trailing 72-60 with 68 seconds remaining, Neller's final attempt from behind the arc went in and out, and Morgan State sealed the win from the charity stripe.
De La Rosa had 11 of UMBC's 12 assists and tied Plummer for team-high honors with five caroms.
Jackson led five Bears in double figures with 15 points.
UMBC travels to South Bend, Ind. to face Notre Dame on Dec. 22.