The Retrievers open their 13th season of America East Conference play at defending league champion Albany on Wednesday, Jan. 6.Tip-off time at SEFCU Arena is slated for 7:05 p.m.
The contest will be broadcast on www.americaeast.tv. Live stats will be available via www.umbcretrievers.com and fans can also follow via the men's basketball program's Twitter feed (UMBC_MBB). Access of live stats and video is also available via UMBC Front Row, UMBC Athletics' mobile website.
RETRIEVERS' UPDATE: After splitting their final six games in December, UMBC opened 2016 and closed the non-conference schedule with an 86-83 setback at NJIT. Retriever sophomore guard Jairus Lyles, who recorded a career-high 30 points, scored a stunning 21 points in the final 5:14 of the game, but UMBC's late, furious rally ran out of time.
UMBC (4-11) had snapped a two-game slide and posted its second consecutive home win by virtue of an 89-75 victory over in-state foe Maryland Eastern Shore on New Year's Eve. Lyles (26) and red-shirt sophomore guard Rodney Elliott (20) combined for 46 points and junior wing Will Darley tied a career-best with 23 points as the Retrievers shot a sizzling 58.5 percent from the floor in the triumph.
Lyles (26.8 ppg) has debuted with a flourish, scoring 107 points in his first four contests. His 27 points at Howard was the most ever by a UMBC Division I player in a debut and he became the first Retriever to score 20 or more points in his first two (now four) appearances in the black and gold.
In his return after missing the 2014-15 season due to injury, Elliott is averaging 13.8 points per game and is coming into league play off of back-to-back 20-plus point efforts.
Freshman wing Joe Sherburne has scored in double figures in 12 of his first 15 intercollegiate games and averages 13.3 points per contest. Sherburne's 38 treys lead UMBC and he is already has sunk the ninth-most by a Retriever freshman in school history. Darley is the fourth Retriever in double figures at 12.3 points per contest. After a perfect 8-for-8 effort from the field vs. UMES, Darley leads UMBC and is fourth in America East lead in field goal percentage at 57.1 percent.
UMBC enters AE play averaging 70.3 points per game, compared to the 53.6 points they recorded per outing as they opened league competition in 2014-15.
GREAT DANE UPDATE: Defending league champion Albany (11-4) has won four straight games and nine of its last ten outings. Most recently, UA edged Cornell, 75-70, in Ithaca, N.Y. on Saturday. Four Great Danes scored in double figures, led by senior guard Ray Sanders, who scored 18 points. UA hit 26-of-29 free throw attempts and outrebounded the Big Red, 45-28.
With 12.3 points per game, senior guard Even Singletary leads a balanced attack, which averages 73.3 points per game and only permits 64.8. Freshman guard Joe Cremo (10.7 ppg) has earned AE Rookie of the Week honors for the past two weeks and is hitting a team-best 56.4 percent from the floor. Albany's rebounding margin is second in the league at +5.7.
THE SERIES: Albany leads the all-time series, 20-7, and have won 12 of the previous 13 contests. UMBC's lone victory in that stretch occurred in February of 2014, when the Retrievers edged UA, 71-69, at the RAC Arena. Albany has won seven straight over UMBC at SEFCU Arena.
Last season, UA defeated UMBC, 69-55, at SEFCU Arena in January and clinched the regular season league crown with a 67-49 victory in Baltimore.
UMBC is 5-7 in 12 previous America East lid-lifters. It will be the third time that UMBC tips off league plat at UA. The Retrievers' won their inaugural AE contest in 2003-04 at SEFCU (67-62), but fell in the 2012-13 opener, 65-48.
WHO'S UP NEXT: The Retrievers open the home portion of America East competition on Saturday, Jan. 9 when they welcome the Maine Black Bears to the RAC Arena. Tip-off time is set for 1:00 p.m.