BALTIMORE – UMBC graduate student guard Wayne Sparrow (Baltimore, Md./St. Frances) led all scorers with 20 points, but the Retrievers did not score a field goal in the first 9:13 of the second half and visiting Vermont broke open a close game to prevail, 71-54.
Vermont improved to 9-8 overall and 4-0 in America East play, while the undermanned Retreivers dropped their fifth straight game and fell to 2-15, 0-5.
The Retrievers struggled early, hitting just 2-of-9 shots and committing eight turnovers in the first nine minutes. Vermont grabbed a 16-4 lead at that juncture, but UMBC rallied with a 12-2 response and cut the deficit to 18-16 by the 7:37 mark. Freshman guard Jourdan Grant's (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) put-back just ahead of the halftime horn sent UMBC into the locker room with momentum, trailing just 33-31 at the break.
Sparrow hit 6-of-11 shots from the floor in the half and led all scorers with 13 points at the break. UMBC just committed one miscue in the final 11 minutes and did not permit the Catamounts any second chance points in the first half.
UMBC had three shots to tie or take an early second half lead, but misfired on all three. Vermont scored 18 of the half's first 22 points and took a 49-35 lead with 11 minutes remaining in the stanza. Thirteen seconds later, sophomore guard Ben Grace (Baltimore, Md./The Gilman School) scored the Retrievers' first field goal of the half after a steal, but the Catamounts would keep the lead in double figures for the remainder of the game.
Junior post Cody Joyce (Churchton, Md./Southern) added 14 points and a game-high eight rebounds for UMBC, while Grant added 12 points, three assists and three steals.
Vermont junior post Ethan O'Day led a balanced effort with 15 points for the visitors.
Vermont hit over 50 percent from the floor each half, finishing at 25-of-46 (54.3%), while UMBC plummeted in the second half, converting only 5-of-21 attempts and coming in at 36.2% for the game.
UMBC stays at home to face Hartford in an afternoon matinee on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday (1:00 p.m.).