UMBC Jumps Out to Big 1st Half Lead, Holds off Hartford for 60-58 Home Win on Hall of Fame Day

BALTIMORE – UMBC freshman guard Bryan Harris (Oxon Hill, Md./Southern/Massanutten Academy) scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half as UMBC built a 13-point halftime cushion, and UMBC held off a furious Hartford rally for a 60-58 win, Saturday afternoon in America East action at the RAC Arena.

The Retriever lead grew to as many as 17 at the 2:03 mark in the first half, but Hartford rallied to knot the game at 58-58, and then had a shot to tie or win it with 20 seconds left, but the hosts held on.

Harris and classmate Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll) paced UMBC (6-14, 2-5 AE) with 15 points apiece, while Elliott also dished out five assists to earn America East Player of the Game honors for the hosts.  Eight different Retrievers got on the board with senior Chase Plummer (Plainfield, N.J./St. Patrick) contributing eight points and junior Devarick Houston (Jonesboro, Ga./Mays/Chattahoochee Tech), freshman Charles Taylor, Jr. (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook/Mount Zion), and  freshman David Kadiri (Beltsville, Md./Coolidge) each netted six points.

Sophomore guard Taylor Dyson matched Harris' and Elliott's scoring output to lead Hartford (10-12, 4-3 AE) while junior Yolonzo Moore II was also in double figures with 13 points.

Neither team shot above 40%, but the Retrievers forced Hartford into 16 turnovers and converted for 18 points. UMBC also outscored the Hawks, 26-20, in the paint.

The host Retrievers jumped in front early courtesy of a lay-in by Taylor and built the lead to 6-0 before the visitors could get on the board.  From there, the two teams went back-and-forth before UMBC went on an 11-4 run to close the half.  Harris shot 4-of-7 in the opening frame, going 3-for-4 behind the arc.

UMBC held the Hawks at bay for over half of the second stanza, maintaining a 13-point lead, 55-42, following a layup by Elliott with 8:00 minutes left.  Hartford then made its run, outscoring the Retrievers 16-3 over the next 5:31 to pull level at 58-58. 

Following Jamie Schneck's lay-in for the tying bucket, Harris drew contact at the other end of the floor and converted both free throws to restore UMBC's lead.  The freshman then made the two biggest plays of the game with under a minute left, securing two offensive rebounds for the Retrievers.

But with 20 seconds left, Schneck collected a miss by Houston and got the ball up the court.  Wes Cole pulled up for a potential game-winning three-pointer, but it clanged off the rim.  Moore grabbed the rebound and had two chances to tie the game again, but both went begging, giving UMBC the home win.

UMBC now hits the road to face Binghamton in a midweek game on Wednesday evening in Vestal, N.Y.  The Retrievers then head up to Maine to take on the Black Bears next Saturday, Feb. 1.

Dawg Bites

-          With the win, UMBC improves to 6-3 at home this season.

-          Retriever assistant coach and former point guard Jay Greene was honored at halftime upon his induction into the UMBC Athletics Hall of Fame.

-          Elliott has now scored in double-digits in 12 of his last 13 games.