New Britain, Conn.- UMBC sophomore forward Chase Plummer (Elizabeth, N.J.) set a career-high in scoring with 20 points, but a scrappy Retriever effort came up short, 77-69 to host Central Connecticut State.
Plummer led four Retrievers in double figures, as junior guard Brian Neller (Red Bank,N.J.) and sophomore guard Quentin Jones (Ellicott City, Md./Mount St. Joseph) scored 14 points each and freshman forward Chandler Thomas (Indianapolis, Ind.) added 11.
Central freshman guard Kyle Vinales, a two-time Northeast Conference Rookie-of-the-Week, led all scorers with 29 points.
For the second time in three games, a Retriever foe enjoyed a decided advantage at the free throw line. UMBC hit five more field goals (29-24) than Central and one more 3-point field goal (7-6), but the Blue Devils were 23-of-30 from the free throw line, while the visitors were just 4-of-10.
Moreover, for the second consecutive game, UMBC had a lead midway through the second half, but could not finish off the host team. The Retrievers trailed, 37-33, at the break, but Jones opened the second half with a trifecta and Thomas converted a layup to give UMBC a short-lived 38-37 lead 63 seconds into the frame.
There were several lead changes over the next nine minutes and UMBC secured its final lead at 56-53 on a Neller trey with 9:23 remaining. But Central's Robby Ptacek hit back-to-back buckets, sparking a 9-0 surge which put the hosts up for good at 62-56 with 5:47 to play.
Plummer's jumper brought the Retrievers to within 67-63 with 3:03 to play, but after Vinales made one of two free throws, Thomas could not convert a nice feed from Jones on the next possession and UMBC could not close within six points the rest of the way.
Plummer and Thomas shared game-high rebounding honors with nine apiece. Jones, a walk-on to the program, earned his second consecutive start and hit six of ten field goals, two of three from behind the arc and added eight rebounds and three assists.
UMBC (0-5) outrebounded Central Connecticut, 41-33.
Senior guard Chris De La Rosa (Washington Heights, N.Y.), who scored 17 points and added 10 assists in his senior debut on Saturday at VMI, made the trip, but did not dress for the game. De La Rosa is still recovering from off-season foot surgery. Freshman guard Joey Getz (Philadelphia, Pa.), who started the first three games, is out indefinitely with a leg injury.
Vinales and seniors Ptacek (21 points) and Ken Horton (21 points) combined for 71 of the Blue Devils' 77 markers.
UMBC returns to action on Monday, Nov. 28 when they face Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J.