West Hartford, Conn.- Host Hartford shook off an anemic shooting first half and rallied from a halftime deficit to defeat UMBC, 68-56 at Chase Family Arena.
For UMBC, senior guard Ryan Cook (Laurel, Md./Pallotti) led the way with 16 points, while junior forward Chase Plummer (Plainfield, N.J./St. Patrick) added 15.
After hitting only 5-of-25 attempts from the field in the first half, Hartford hit 14-of-23 in the final 20 minutes and converted 16-of-18 second half free throw attempts.
UMBC led, 24-20 at the break and junior guard Quentin Jones (Ellicott City, Md./Mt. St. Joseph) hit a pair of free throws to extend the lead to six on the Retrievers' first possession of the half. But the Hawks went on a 7-0 run to reclaim the lead at 27-26 at the 17:21 mark.
Senior guard Brian Neller (Red Bank, N.J./Christian Bros. Acad.) would tie the game for the final time at 30-all on a trey with 16:40 remaining. Hartford led, 37-36, when the hosts went on the game's most critical run, outscoring UMBC, 12-3, over a five-minute span to take a 49-39 lead with 7:41 remaining.
UMBC basically traded scores with Harford the rest of the way, failing to get necessary stops down the stretch and managed only four rebounds in the final 12 minutes of play.
UMBC (4-11, 6-21) finished the game at 38.0 percent from the floor, hit only 3-of-18 from behind the arc and recorded a season-low four assists. Hartford (9-6, 16-12) climbed to 40.4 percent shooting for the game and outrebounded the Retrievers, 37-30.
The Retrievers excelled on the defensive end in the first half, holding the hosts to just a pair of field goals inside the arc and 20 percent shooting (5-of-25) overall. The Hawks opened the game by grabbing a 9-4 lead, but UMBC countered with a 17-3 run and led 21-12 after Hartford-area native senior Adrian Satchell (Windsor, Conn./Windsor) hit a baseline jumper with 5:31 to play in the half.
The hosts would score the next seven points, but the Retrievers took a 24-20 lead to the locker room.
Hartford's lone senior, wing John Peterson, led the hosts with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
UMBC closes the regular season on Sunday at the RAC Arena vs. Binghamton. Cook, Neller, and Satchell will be honored before the 2:00 p.m. start. A UMBC victory would give the Retrievers the No. 6 seed in the America East Tournament.