Emmitsburg, Md.—UMBC suffered another tough loss to a Northeast Conference opponent, falling 58-55, at Mount St. Mary's.
Senior guard Brian Neller's fall-away three from 23 feet just before the horn sounded hit the front rim and the Retrievers slipped to 1-4 in games decided by five points or less.
The Retrievers produced their best defensive effort against a Division I opponent in 2012-13, but the unheralded Mountaineer post game provided the difference in the win.
Mount junior forward Kristijan Krajina hit all four field goal attempts from inside the paint in the second half and scored a game-high 14 points for the victors.
The Retrievers trailed for the majority of the second half, falling behind by as many as eight points at 39-31 with 14:30 to play. But junior posts Chase Plummer (Plainfield, N.J./St. Patrick) and Brett Roseboro (Quakertown, Pa./Quakertown) sparked a rally which overcame that deficit.
Sophomore guard Joey Getz (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Wood), who missed five games with an injured ankle and saw his first action since Dec. 1., capped the 13-4 run with a reverse layup to give the visitors a 44-43 lead with 6:53 remaining.
But Mount scored on its next possession and rebuilt the advantage to 52-46 with 4:44 to play. UMBC again rallied and tied the game at 53-all on a pair of free throws by Roseboro with 1:35 remaining.
Mount's Josh Castellanos would hit one of two free throws with 63 seconds to play, giving the Retrievers a chance to take the lead in the final minute. But Getz' pull-up jumper was short with 37 seconds left and he fouled Krajina on the rebound.
The Mount post hit both free throw attempts to restore the hosts' lead to 56-53. Senior guard Ryan Cook (Laurel, Md./Pallotti) hit a 16-foot jumper to trim the deficit to 56-55 with 12 seconds left, but Castellanos converted both free throw attempts to set up UMBC's final, unsuccessful attempt.
Roseboro posted his fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 caroms. Cook scored 10 of his team-high 12 points in the first half and Plummer added 11 points.
UMBC led a tightly-contest first half until Mount guard Julian Norfleet buried a trey to give the hosts a 17-15 lead with 10:21 to play in the stanza. The Mountaineers completed a 8-0 run to lead by 22-15, but the Retrievers responded with a 9-2 surge to knot the score at 24-all with 3:09 remaining.
The hosts took a 26-25 lead at the break. The Retrievers were 10-of-20 from the floor and 4-of-6 from behind the arc, but also committed 11 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
UMBC outshot the Mount, 48.8-40.8 percent, but committed 19 turnovers and were outscored, 10-4, on second-chance points.
The Retrievers open America East Conference play at Albany on Wed., Jan. 2.