BALTIMORE – UMBC hit nearly 54 percent of its second half shots, but visiting New Hampshire topped 57 percent and edged the Retrievers, 63-60, in a crisply-played America East Conference contest at the RAC Arena.
UMBC (2-13, 0-2) graduate student guard Wayne Sparrow (Baltimore, Md./St. Frances) led all scorers with 21 points and had a shot to send the game to overtime, but his on-line 24-footer hit the back iron just before the final horn.
UMBC junior post Cody Joyce (Churchton, Md./Southern) posted his second consecutive double-double, recording 14 points and 10 caroms and freshman guard Jourdan Grant (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) continued his dazzling play, scoring a season-best 18 points and adding six assists and four rebounds. Grant has 15 helpers in his first two America East games.
UNH (8-8, 1-2) sophomore forward Jacoby Armstrong led four UNH starters in double figures with 16 points.
UMBC led, 23-22, at the half as both teams shot below 40 percent from the floor. But the visitors took control, scoring the first six points of the half on three possessions. UNH scored 20 points in the first 8:53 of the second half and built the lead to 42-35 on a Ronnel Jordan layup. The Retrievers would slice the deficit back to one point on two occasions, but UNH sophomore guard Daniel Dion restored a six-point lead at 50-44, burying a trey with 7:47 remaining.
But Sparrow, who scored 17 of his points in the final 20 minutes, hit back-to-back trifectas to produce the lone tie of the second half at 50-all with 6:36 to play. After a steal by Sparrow, UMBC had one chance to take the lead, but Joyce could not convert inside and UNH's Matt Miller countered with a trey from the right wing to give the visitors the lead for good at 53-50 with 5:21 remaining.
The Retrievers made the game a one-possession contest four times down the stretch, but each time UNH managed to score. After Grant hit one-of-two free throws to cut the deficit to 63-60, UNH guard Jaleen Smith missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity with 9.2 seconds left. UMBC got the look it wanted, but Sparrow's shot was a hair too strong.
UNH ended up 24-of-49 from the floor (49.0%) for the game and hit 5-of-11 from distance in the final 20 minutes after misfiring on 8-of-9 in the first half. UMBC hit 21-of-49 shots (42.9%) and outrebounded UNH, 31-29.
The two teams combined for just 15 turnovers, as UMBC posted a season-low eight miscues.
UMBC will play its first road game of the league campaign when the Retrievers visit Stony Brook on Wednesday.