BALTIMORE- Despite yeoman's efforts from a pair of UMBC neophyte guards, the undermanned Retriever men's basketball team fell, 68-56, to visiting Binghamton in America East action.
Freshman guard Jourdan Grant (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) scored a career-high 20 points and lightly-used sophomore Ben Grace (Baltimore, Md./The Gilman School) smashed his career best effort with 17 points in the setback.
Grace, who was making his first career start, hit 5-of-12 shots from behind the arc in all 40 minutes of action. The walk-on played just 38 minutes last year and did not see action in seven of the first 11 games of the current season. His previous career in scoring was six points vs. Lehigh on Dec. 28, 2014.
For the first time this season, UMBC was without the services of guard Wayne Sparrow and only six players saw action for the Retrievers. Due to NCAA rules regarding graduate school transfers, Sparrow is no longer eligible to compete for the Retrievers. Sparrow started all of the previous 20 contests in his lone season at UMBC and averaged a team-high 13.8 points per contest.
UMBC fell to 3-18 overall and 1-7 in America East action, while Binghamton snapped a four-game slide and improved to 3-20, 2-6.
The Retrievers never led, falling behind, 7-0 to start the contest and 20-10 at the 8:33 mark of the first half. UMBC committed 10 turnovers in the first 11 minutes of action and trailed, 33-24 at the break.
UMBC made its best run early in the second half, getting off to a 6-1 start and cutting the deficit to 36-32 after a thunderous alley-oop dunk by senior Devarick Houston (Jonesboro, Ga./Mays) just 5:20 into the frame. After Binghamton scored back-to-back field goals, Grace hit a trey to keep the hosts within 40-35, but 9-2 response by the Bearcats restored a 49-37 lead with 7:14 remaining.
UMBC attempted 32 shots (of 50) from behind the arc, hitting 10 for a 31.3 percent mark. The Retrievers were just 19-of-50 from the floor overall (38 percent), compared to 46.2 percent efficiency from the guests (24-of-52).
Binghamton forced 18 turnovers, and committed only eight and outscored UMBC, 18-5, in points off miscues.
UMBC junior post Cody Joyce (Churchton, Md./Southern) who was double and tripled teamed on the offensive end all night, snared a game-high nine rebounds, but his streak of double figure scoring was snapped at eight in an eight-point effort.
Freshman Willie Rodriguez led Binghamton with 15 points and added eight caroms.
UMBC will have a bye this weekend and returns to action on Feb. 5 at UMass Lowell.