WEST HARTFORD – UMBC senior forward Will Darley (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) scored a season-high 29 points, including seven treys, as the visiting Retrievers improved to 12-4 overall and 3-0 in America East play with a 84-68 victory at Hartford (5-12, 0-2).
The 3-0 start in league play equals UMBC's best in 14 years of America East competition. The 2007-08 championship squad also started that campaign at 3-0.
Darley fell one trey and three points shy of his career high, set at Stony Brook in the league quarterfinals a season ago.
UMBC converted 17-of-33 treys on the night, tying its second-most in school history, and recording the most against ever against a Division I foe.
Junior guard Jarius Lyles and sophomore forward Joe Sherburne scored 16 and 14 respectively for UMBC.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak to the Hawks and was UMBC's fifth in the last six contests. The 12-4 mark is the program's best in 30 years of NCAA Division I competition.
UMBC led, 37-27, at the half, and the Hawks never trimmed the lead to single digits in the second half. The Retrievers started the half on a 7-0 surge, capped by a trey by Connecticut native freshman forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) to boost the lead to 44-27 just 2:19 into the frame.
Hartford would trim the deficit to 46-35 on a trey by Jalen Ross at the 14:34 mark, but back-to-back trifectas by junior guard K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R) and Darley re-established a 17-point cushion.
UMBC led by as many as 24 points on four occasions in the final 5:32.
The Retrievers converted the 17 treys on 33 attempts (51.5 percent) and shot 45.3 percent (29-of-64) from the field. They held Hartford to 40 percent (24-of-60) shooting and forced 18 Hawks miscues.
Darley knocked down 7-of-12 from beyond the arc, 9-of-16 overall and all four free throw attempts. He added seven rebounds to share team-high honors with Lamar.
Lyles stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, six caroms, five assists and a season-best five steals.
Ross, America East's top scorer, who was averaging 0.1 more points per game than Lyles' 21.3 entering the game, led Hartford with 16 points.
The first half featured many long surges and droughts by both squads. UMBC took an early 14-2 advantage, as four different Retrievers buried treys in the first 4:08. The Retrievers extended the advantage to 25-8 on a Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll) trifecta at the midpoint of the half, but the visitors would only score seven more points over the next 7:30 of the half.
The Hawks trimmed the deficit to 27-24, capping a 16-2 surge on a trey by Jack Hobbs at the 3:32 mark. But UMBC steadied, as Sherburne hit a baseline jumper and a trey and Darley ended the half with his third bomb of the stanza to give the guests a 37-27 advantage at the break.
UMBC converted 9-of-18 shots from long range in the first 20 minutes, but converted only 4-of-16 from inside the arc and finished the half at 38.2 percent from the floor,
The Retrievers remain in New England and will take on Vermont (13-5, 3-0 AE) on Friday evening.