January 5, 2014

UMBC Drops America East Opener at UMass Lowell, 59-54

Lowell, Mass. – After a hot start, the UMBC men's basketball team (4-10, 0-1) cooled over the final 30 minutes of play and fell to UMass Lowell (2-11, 1-1), 59-54, in the Retrievers' America East Conference opener .

Freshman guard Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll) led UMBC and was the Retrievers' lone player in double figures as he scored 14 points. Elliott, UMBC's America East Player of the Game, tied his season high with six assists.

Trailing 57-54, Elliott had  chance to send the game to overtime, but his contested baseline trey with three seconds left drew iron. UML corralled the rebound and Kerry Weldon hit two free throws to seal the victory.

One game after committing a season-low 12 fouls in the victory over Navy, the Retrievers were whistled for 25 fouls and UML took advantage, outscoring UMBC from the stripe, 21-11.

UMBC bolted out from the gate, scoring the game's initial 15 points in the first 5:24 of action. The Retrievers hit seven of their first nine shots from the floor and still led, 17-6, on a Charles Taylor, Jr. (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook) lay-up with 12:04 to play in the half. But the Riverhawks pounded UMBC on the offensive glass from the midpoint of stanza and outscored the Retrievers, 28-14 the rest of the half.

UMBC was plagued by fouls, as the hosts hit 11-of-15 free throws and UMBC managed just 4-of-8.  The Riverhawks led, 34-31, at the break.

The hosts extended the lead to 41-31 early in the second half   UMBC responded with a 10-2 run and had two possessions to tie or take the lead, but could not convert.

Although the Riverhawks did not extend the lead beyond six points in the final 16 minutes, UMBC only had one possessions with a chance to tie until Elliott's final attempt.

After hitting 13 of 23 shots from the floor in the first half, UMBC sagged to 7-of-24 in the final 20 minutes. The Retrievers struggled from behind the arc (3-of-14) and at the charity stirpe (11-of-20).

UML senior guard Akeem Williams led all scorers with 18 points and reserve forward Antonio Bivins, who was listed as red-shirting this season,  made his season debut and added 14 points.

The Riverhawks shot just 34 percent from the field (17-of-50) for the game, but outrebounded UM BC, 37-32. 

UMBC senior guard Quentin Jones (Baltimore, Md./mount St .Jossph) added nine points for the visitors.

After one day at home, UMBC heads back north to face Albany in a Wednesday evening contest at SEFCU Arena.