Albany, N.Y.- UMBC junior guard Ryan Cook (Laurel, Md./Pallotti) scored a team season-best 28 points, but Albany's Gerardo Suero countered with 32 to lead the host Great Danes to an 87-76 victory at SEFCU Arena.
Cook hit 10 of 22 shots from the floor, all eight free throw attempts and added a team-high eight rebounds.
Thomas started in place of sophomore forward Chase Plummer (Plainfield, N.J.) who did not accompany the team after suffering a concussion in practice earlier in the week. Plummer, UMBC's leading scorer at 14.0 points per game, scored a career-high 25 points vs. Albany at the RAC Arena on Jan. 4.
UMBC (3-18, 2-7 America East) jumped out to a 6-2 lead, but the Great Danes scored the next ten points and never looked back. Albany stretched the advantage to 44-27 with 1:13 to play in the half, but the Retrievers scored the final seven points of the stanza to get within 44-34 at the break.
Albany scored on its first seven possessions of the second half and eventually built the lead to as large as 68-44 with 10:44 remaining.
But the Retrievers would not go quietly, as they chopped 15 points off the deficit and came within 82-73 on freshman Jarell Lane's (Rahway, N.J.) jumper with 69 seconds to play. Albany's Jacob Iati hit just one of two free throws eight seconds later, but Cook's trey to get UMBC within seven points was no good with 54 seconds remaining.
Suero scored 21 first half points, hitting 6 of 9 from the floor and all eight attempts from the line. UMBC hit 16 of 27 shots from inside the arc in the first 20 minutes, but misfired on all seven 3-point attempts.
The Retrievers missed their first 11 treys of the night until Neller connected with 4:42 remaining.
UMBC shot 48.5 percent from the floor, hitting 32 of 66 shots, while Albany (15-9, 7-3 America East) netted 28 of 54 (51.9%). Six of the last seven Retriever opponents have converted 50 percent or better from the floor.
The Retrievers return to action when they entertain Maine on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 3:30 p.m.