The UMBC Retrievers open the home portion of America East Conference play on Saturday, Jan. 9 when they host the up-tempo Maine Black Bears at the RAC Arena. Tip-off time is slated for 1:05 p.m.
The contest will be broadcast on www.americaeast.tv and Q1370 (AM, www.q1370.com) with Gary Stein and Paul Mittermeier on the call. 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: 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 on Wednesday at SEFCU Arena. UMBC sophomore guard Jairus Lyles led all scorers with 17 points, while red-shirt sophomore back court mate Rodney Elliott added 11. Freshman post Sam Schwietz posted season bests of eight points and six rebounds.
UMBC had averaged 82.5 points per game in its last four outings, but were held to their lowest scoring output since a 75-54 setback versus Navy on November 25.
After closing 2015 with a victory over Maryland Eastern Shore, the Retrievers (4-12, 0-1 AE) have dropped two straight to start the new calendar year.
Lyles (24.8 ppg) has debuted with a flourish, scoring 124 points in his first five 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 four appearances in the black and gold.
In his return after missing the 2014-15 season due to injury, Elliott is averaging 13.6 points per game.
Freshman wing Joe Sherburne has scored in double figures in 12 of his first 16 intercollegiate games and averages 13.0 points per contest. Sherburne's 40 treys lead UMBC and he is already has sunk the ninth-most by a Retriever freshman in school history. Junior forward Will Darley is the fourth Retriever in double figures at 12.0 points per contest. Darley leads UMBC and is fourth in America East lead in field goal percentage at 56.3 percent.
BLACK BEAR UPDATE: Like UMBC, Maine (4-10, 0-1 AE) has dramatically increased its scoring from a year ago, when the Black Bears struggled to a 3-27 mark. They scored 98 points each in home wins over Quinnipiac (98-95, ot) and Brown (98-92) before opening America East play with a 90-72 home setback versus Vermont on Wednesday.
Maine was knotted at 40-all at the half with the Catamounts, but the Black Bears misfired on 9-of-15 second half free throw attempts and Vermont scored 56 points in the paint over 40 minutes to assure the 18-point Vermont victory. Maine posts Devine Eke, a freshman, and Till Gloger, a senior, combined to hit 11 of 13 shots from the floor.
Eke is averaging 10.5 points per game, but leads America East in field goal percentage at 64 percent. Sophomore guard Kevin Little leads the explosive Black Bears at 14.1 points per contest. Maine is ranked 37th nationally in turnovers forced (15.8), contributing to their 74.6 points-per-game average, second-best in America East.
THE SERIES: UMBC swept a pair of games versus Maine in 2014-15 to knot the all-time series at 13-all. The Retrievers scored a season-high 76 points in a 76-59 triumph at Maine in January and edged the Black Bears, 73-66, at the RAC Arena in February. Cody Joyce led UMBC in scoring on both occasions, tallying 28 points in Orono and posting 18 in Baltimore. UMBC finished at 52.9 percent from the floor (27-of-51) in the first contest and held Maine to just 35.7 percent shooting (20-of-56). The Retrievers converted 13 of 22 from the floor in a 42-point second half and finished at 50 percent (23 of 46) for the contest to record the sweep.
Each of the last four games played at the RAC Arena have been decided by seven points or less, with UMBC winning three of those four outcomes.
WHO'S UP NEXT: The Retrievers head back to New York and will take on Stony Brook on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Tip-off time is set for 7:00 p.m.