Stony Brook, N.Y.- There is no doubt that the UMBC men's basketball team will fight for 40 minutes, night-in and night-out during the 2014-15 campaign.
The undermanned Retrievers erased an early 11-point second half deficit to take a lead over host Stony Brook, but the Seawolves bettered UMBC down the stretch and came away with a hard-earned 64-54 victory.
UMBC graduate student guard Wayne Sparrow (Baltimore, Md./St. Frances) led all scorers with 17 points. Junior post Cody Joyce (Churchton, Md./Southern) scored 11 of his 13 in the second half, while freshman guard Malcolm Brent (Silver Spring, Md./Northwood) also recorded 13 points.
The Retrievers trailed, 32-24 at the half and SBU Carson Puriefoy hit a three-pointer to start the second half scoring. But with Joyce leading the charge, UMBC would outscore SBU, 18-6, and take a 42-41 lead on senior post Devarick Houston (Jonesboro, Ga./Mays) inside bucket with 10:45 to play.
UMBC extended the lead to 46-41, capping the run at 22-6, but a rare outside jumper by SBU junior post Jameel Warney stopped the run and swung the momentum back to the Seawolves.
Stony Brook re-took the lead at 48-46, but a three-point play by Joyce gave the Retrievers their final edge 49-48 with 6:40 to play. UMBC got a turnover and possession, but did not score and Seawolf forward Rayshaun McGrew hit two free throws to start a 9-0 run and give SBU some cushion down the stretch.
The Retrievers shot 46.8 percent from the floor, outdueling the hosts as UMBC held SBU to 41.5 percnet shooting.
UMBC freshman guard Jourdan Grant (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) added nine points, six assists and a team-best eight caroms in 40 minutes of action.
UMBC got off to a solid start, especially defensively, and took leads of 9-4 and 11-10 into the first media time outs. But the Seawolves caught fire from behind the arc, keying a 16-2 run, which gave them a 26-13 lead with 6:10 to play in the half.
UMBC (2-14, 0-3 AE) would respond, countering with an 11-6 surge to end the half, with Sparrow scoring six of those points.
Both teams rapidly doubled high-scoring post players, juniors Cody Joyce (UMBC) and Jameel Warney (SBU), holding them to two and zero points respectively in the first half. Warney distributed well out of the doubles, racking up six assists in the frame and the hosts took advantage of eight UMBC miscues, outscoring the Retrievers, 16-3, in points off turnovers.
Sparrow (10) and Brent (8) combined for 18 of UMBC's 24 points, while Grant garnered six rebounds.
Puriefoy lead Stony Brook (11-7, 2-1 AE), a squad which defeated nationally-ranked Washington in December, with 15 points.
UMBC returns to Baltimore and will host Vermont on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 1:00 p.m.