Lyles' Hits Game-Winning Free Throw in OT as UMBC Nips Binghamton, 80-79

Joe Sherburne currently leads the nation in 3-pt. field goal percentage
Joe Sherburne currently leads the nation in 3-pt. field goal percentage

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BALTIMORE – UMBC sophomore guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) led all scorers with 25 points and hit a free throw with 8.3 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Retrievers a 80-79 victory over Binghamton in final home game of the campaign.

UMBC snapped a four-game slide and improved to 7-23 overall and 3-12 in league play. Binghamton slipped to 7-21, 4-11.  The Retrievers also halted a four-game losing streak to the Bearcats.

Junior forward Will Darley (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) added 22 points for UMBC.

The Retrievers played a strong opening 19 minutes of the second half, erasing a one-point halftime deficit to building a 73-66 lead with just 1:01 remaining. But Binghamton's Bobby Ahearn hit a lay-up 11 seconds later, and, after a Lyles turnover, the Binghamton sophomore forward scored again down low to make the affair a one possession game.

Then, UMBC unraveled at the free throw line, missing four in a row in a 12-second span to give the Bearcats two chances to tie the game. Binghamton junior guard Marlon Beck missed the first open try with 12 seconds left, but buried the second from 26 feet with 1.8 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

Both teams managed only one field goal apiece in overtime and UMBC's occurred as Lyles hit a driving layup and converted the free throw to give the hosts a 79-77 lead with 1:41 to play. Binghamton's Everson Davis tied the score with a field goal at the 1:17 mark and then both teams had empty possessions, giving UMBC the ball with 29 seconds left.

Lyles ran down the clock and when the he drove the left sideline, he drew a foul on Ahearn. He made the first of two attempts, giving the Bearcats a chance to win the game with a field goal. But BU's Willie Rodriguez came up short on a jumper in the lane and Darley controlled the carom as the horn sounded.

The overtime victory was UMBC's first since Nov. 17, 2013. They had lost four straight in extra time since the win over Mt. St. Mary's.

After shooting less than 30 percent from three-point range at home in their first seven America East home games, UMBC h it 10-of-20 versus the Bearcats. Darley converted 5-of-8, while freshman Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) swished 4-of-8 in a 15-point effort.

Lyles hit 10-of-18 shots from the floor, and added five assists and five steals. Grant scored nine points and tied a career-high with nine assists.

Binghamton freshman forward Thomas Bruce led a balanced attack with 18 points, while Ahearn and Beck scored 17 apiece.  

UMBC got off to a great start, taking a 13-5 lead at the 15:09 mark. But threes by Beck on back-to-back possessions helped erase that advantage and give the Bearcats their first lead at 16-15 with 12:22 remaining in the half. The lead changed hands nine times in the first 20 minutes and the visitors hit the break with a 37-36 lead. Beck hit 4-of-6 shots from behind the arc and led all scorers with 14 points at halftime, while Sherburne found the range, converting 3-of-4 treys and posting 11 points, three assists and two steals.

The Retrievers conclude the regular season at New Hampshire on Saturday at noon.