March 2, 2014

Men's Basketball Falls at Hartford, But Will Be No. 5 Seed in America East Tourney

West Hartford, Conn. – UMBC rallied late from a 24-point deficit, but the host Hartford Hawks defeated the Retrievers, 67-56, in the regular season finale at Chase Family Arena.

Freshman guard Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll) scored 17 of his team-best 21 points in the second half and freshman wing Charles Taylor, Jr. (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook) added 11 points.  

With losses by New Hampshire and Binghamton, UMBC (9-20, 5-11 America East) will be the No. 5 seed for next weekend's America East Conference Tournament and face No. 4 Albany (15-14, 9-7) at 2:30 p.m. on Sat., March 8 at Albany's SEFCU Arena.

UH junior Corban Wroe scored a career-high 21 points, hitting his first four 3-point attempts of the game and finishing 7-of-9 from the floor.

The Retrievers struggled offensively throughout the first half against an inspired Hawk defense. Taylor, Jr. tipped in an errant UMBC shot to cut the Retriever deficit to 15-14 with 8:20 to play in the first half, but Hartford went on an 8-0 run to take command. Six of Hartford's ten first half field goals came from behind the arc and the hosts took a 29-19 lead into the break.

The Hawks opened the second half on a 9-2 run to open up a 38-21 advantage with 15:16 remaining. They extended the advantage to as many as 24 points at 55-31 on a Wroe trey with 8:22 to play and still led,64-42, with 4:39 to play before UMBC tried to stage a furious rally.

In a span of 3:26, the Retrievers outscored the Hawks, 13-0, to cut the deficit to 64-55 on a Taylor runner in the lane with 1:03 to play .But that was as close as they would come to the Hawks, who have won six of their last seven.

UMBC, which hovered below the 30 percent mark from the floor for much of the second half, surged late to finish at 39.1 percent for the contest (18-of-46). The Retrievers struggled from behind the arc, misfiring on 13 of 15 shots. The Retrievers also turned the ball over 18 times and the Hawks outscored UMBC, 22-11, in points off turnovers.

Notes: Elliott now has 433 points on the season, just one point shy of Rich Giddens, who scored the second-most points for any Retriever freshman in UMBC's Division I history in 1997-98... The No. 5 seed is UMBC's highest seeding since they were the No. 1 seed and eventual champion in the 2007-08 season.