Albany, N.Y. – Defending America East champion Albany outscored UMBC, 11-1, in the final 2:30 and defeated the Retrievers, 73-59, in the league opener for both squads.
UMBC sophomore guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) led all scorers with 17 points, while red-shirt sophomore back court mate Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll) added 11. Freshman post Sam Schwietz (Frisco, Texas) posted season bests of eight points and six rebounds.
Albany (12-4) won for the fifth consecutive time and the tenth time in the last 11 outings. UMBC slipped to 4-12 on the campaign.
The Retrievers fell behind by ten points on two occasions in the second half, but battled back to cut the deficit to four points each time. Junior wing Will Darley (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) hit his second trey of the night to bring UMBC to within 62-58 with 2:49 to play. Albany countered with a Greg Stire lay-up 19 seconds later, and after the Retrievers could not convert a pair of inside shots on the next possession, UA's Ray Sanders buried a trey with 1:29 remaining to restore their lead to nine points.
The Retrievers could not convert from the floor on their final five possessions and dropped their league opener for fourth consecutive year.
UMBC converted over 54 percent from the floor in the first half, but misfired on 17 of 26 attempts after the intermission and finished at 44 percent (22-of-50) for the game. The Retrievers were efficient from behind the arc (6-of-14, 42.9%) and at the stripe (9-of-12, 75.0%), but both total attempts were season lows.
Five Albany players scored in double figures, led by Sanders' 16 points. UA converted 26-of-51 shots (51.0 percent) from the field and outrebounded UMBC, 36-21. Albany outscored UMBC in the paint, 40-24.
Albany dominated the interior in the first half, as the Danes hit 12-of-15 shots from inside the arc and built a 31-22 lead at the 4:41 mark of the stanza. But UMBC surged back, outscoring the Danes, 12-2 and taking a 34-32 lead on Lyles corner jumper with 65 ticks left in the half. Albany countered with a trey on the next possession and took a 36-34 lead into the break.
The lead changed hands eight times in the first half.
Lyles and Darley added four assists each and Lyles contributed four steals.
The Retrievers open America East play at home when they entertain Maine on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.