BALTIMORE – After hitting 16 of 23 shots from the field and taking a three-point halftime lead, the UMBC Retrievers cooled dramatically in the final 20 minutes and fell to visiting Towson, 77-66, at the RAC Arena.
Four Retrievers scored in double figures, led by grad student guard Wayne Sparrow (Baltimore, Md./St. Frances), who recorded a career-high 17 points. Junior post Cody Joyce (Churchton, Md./Southern) added 12 points, but fouled out in 26 minutes of action.
UMBC (0-5) recorded season bests in scoring and field goal percentage (24 of 48, 50 percent), but allowed a season-high 77 points to the Tigers (6-1), who shot 53.7 percent (23 of 41) for the contest.
The Retrievers took advantage of Towson inside in the early going, as 22 of 36 points came in the paint. Sparrow's layup just 5:36 into the contest gave the hosts a 13-7 lead, but a 12-2 Towson run turned it into a 19-15 deficit just inside the mid-point of the half.
Back-to-back dunks by senior Devarick Houston (Jonesboro, Ga.) and sophomore Charles Taylor (Washington, D.C./Springbrook) gave the holiday crowd something to cheer for as the Retrievers reclaimed the lead at 28-25 with 4:58 to play in the half.
UMBC held on to get its first halftime lead of the season at 36-33 after 20 minutes.
The Tigers led for most of the first 10 minutes of the second half, but UMBC got its last tie at 49-all as Joyce hit one of two free throw attempts with 9:45 remaining. But Joyce picked up his fourth foul attempting to take a charge at the 8:08 mark and Towson took full advantage, surging on the game's pivotal 15-3 run at the final media time out with 3:35 remaining. The Tigers hit only one shot outside the paint in the run, converting three layups and all six free throw attempts to build an insurmountable 64-52 advantage.
UMBC freshmen guards Jourdan Grant (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) and Malcolm Brent (Silver Spring, Md./Northwood) each posted season highs with 12 and 11 points respectively. Grant added four assists and four steals in 34 minutes.
Towson outrebounded UMBC, 23-11, in the second half and 31-20 for the game. The Tigers hit 7-of-12 from behind the arc, including 4-of-6 in the second half and were 26-of-32 from the charity stripe.
Towson junior guard Four McGlynn hit all 13 free throw attempts and finished with a game-high 22 points.
UMBC will play three games in five days next week, starting with a Tuesday, Dec. 2 contest at UMES.