The UMBC Retrievers open their 49th season of intercollegiate basketball, the 31st on the NCAA Division I level and No. 14 in the America East Conference on Friday, Nov. 11, when they host Hood (Md.) College. A 2:00 p.m. tip-off time is slated for the RAC Arena and the contest will be broadcast on www.americaeast.tv 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: The Ryan Odom era begins in Baltimore with today's opening tip. Hired in April of this year, Odom became the ninth head coach in the program's history. The son of former Wake Forest and South Carolina head coach Dave Odom served as head men's basketball coach at Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) University for the 2015-16 season and led the Bears to the NCAA Division II Regional Finals for the first time in school history.
Twelve of the 13 players that earned a letter last season returned for the 2016-17 campaign and four newcomers have been added to the mix. A preseason All-Conference selection, junior guard Jairus Lyles led America East with 22.1 points, 2.7 steals and 37.2 minutes played in league games and set a UMBC single season mark for scoring average at 23.0 points per game a year ago. Lyles was tabbed to the 2016-17 preseason all-conference squad.
Juniors Rodney Elliott (John Carroll) and Jourdan Grant (Archbishop Spalding) also return at the guard slots. Elliott, the 2013-14 America East Rookie of the Year, cobbled together a solid comeback season a year ago after missing the prior campaign after undergoing shoulder surgery. He finished in the top ten in America East in points per outing (12.8-tenth), assists per game (3.6-third) and free throw percentage (81.4- fifth).
Senior Will Darley (Dulaney) and sophomore Joe Sherburne return at two of the forward slots. Darley averaged a career-best 11.9 points per game in 2015-16, and finished fourth in America East in 3-point field goal percentage (43.4) and ninth in overall efficiency (49.2 percent) from the floor. Sherburne, a Wisconsin native, earned America East All-Rookie Team honors, averaged 10.5 points per contest and buried 61 treys, the second-most ever for a UMBC freshman.
UMBC averaged a robust 72.1 points per game in 2015-16, but allowed 80.6 and foes shot nearly 50 percent (49.6) from the floor versus the Retrievers.
BLAZERS' UPDATE: Hood posted a mark of 13-12 in Chad Dickman's first season at the helm in 2015-16. Hood recorded a 7-9 MAC Commonwealth mark, but did not qualify for the post-season tournament. Senior guard Scott Bolen, who scored 13.2 points per outing in just five games played a season ago, is the leading returning scorer, along with Frederick native, sophomore guard Jared Ruiz, who scored 9.8 per contest and sunk a team-high 41 treys on the campaign.
Hood was very competitive versus Mount St. Mary's in an exhibition in Emmitsburg on Nov. 5. The Blazers were within 40-36 early in the second half before the hosts surged for an 89-65 victory. Freshman Drew Billingsley led Hood with 17 points, hitting 6-of-7 from the floor in just 15 minutes of action.
THE SERIES: This will be the first match-up between the Retrievers and the Blazers.
WHO'S UP NEXT: UMBC takes on in-state rival Maryland Eastern Shore on Sunday, Nov. 13 in Princess Anne, Md. Tip-off time is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. in the Hawks' home opener.