BALTIMORE – Visiting Hartford never trailed and scored a season-high 98 points in a 98-87 victory over UMBC at the RAC Arena.
UMBC sophomore guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) led five Retrievers in double figures with 24 points. But Hartford reserve guard Jalen Ross topped all scorers with 27 points, hitting 13-of-14 attempts from the charity stripe.
Hartford (7-13, 2-3 AE) shot over 64 percent from the field in the second half, buried 8-of-13 shots behind the arc and 15-of-18 from the free throw line. They outscored UMBC, 59-55, in the final 20 minutes.
The Retrievers would rally late, trimming an early second half 16-point deficit of 59-43 to 84-80 after a Lyles run-out and layup with 2:42 remaining. But as they did so often in the second half, Hartford hit a perimeter shot, as junior guard Justin Graham hit a trey from the right wing just before the shot clock expired.
Hartford converted 9-of-10 free throws in the final 62 seconds to seal the victory.
The Hawks finished the game at 55 percent (33-of-60) from the floor, 50 percent from behind the arc (13-of-26) and 82.6 percent from the stripe (19-of-23). UMBC managed to counter with 56.8 percent shooting from the field in the second half and ended the game at 48.5 percent (33-of-68).
The Retrievers (5-15, 1-4 AE) have only won once this season when shooting below 50 percent from the field.
Lyles has now scored 24 of more points in eight of his nine outings for UMBC. He hit 9-of-18 shots from the floor, including 6-of-9 in the final 20 minutes. He also led UMBC with nine rebounds and four steals. Freshman wing Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) added 18 points and seven rebounds.
UMBC got a huge second half boost from walk-on freshman guard Ishmail Jabbie (Bowie, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt). Appearing in just his seventh game, Jabbie scored 12 points in 12 second-half minutes, hitting all five shots (one trey) from the floor and his lone free throw attempt.
Red-shirt sophomore guard Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll) contributed 12 points and a game-high seven assists, while senior post Cody Joyce (Churchton, Md./Southern) scored 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field .
The Retrievers missed their first eight field goal attempts of the game, several from close range, as Hartford surged out to a 23-12 advantage at the midpoint of the half. The Hawks also produced seven steals, and despite turnovers being even at 7 apiece, UH outscored UMBC, 8-1, in points off miscues. Hartford took several double digit leads, but settled for a 39-32 advantage at the half.
UMBC scored the first field goal of the second half, but UH countered with a 22-9 run to build their largest lead of the game.
The Retrievers will attempt to beat the major snowstorm slated for the region and leave town on Friday morning to make the journey to Vermont for a Sunday matinee.