BALTIMORE – UMBC rallied three times in the final 40 seconds of regulation and both overtime periods and pulled off a stunning 105-103 double overtime victory over New Hampshire at the RAC Arena.
The Retrievers (14-7, 5-3 America East) tied the Wildcats (14-8, 5-3 AE) for third place in the league at the halfway mark.
Junior guard Jairus Lyles' pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to give the Retrievers a 104-103 lead. UNH senior guard Jaleen Smith missed a runner and Retriever senior guard Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll) grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 6.6 seconds remaining. Elliott hit the first of two free throws and Smith drove down the floor, but his attempt from behind the arc came up short, setting off a wild celebration at the RAC Arena.
"New Hampshire was stellar and I thought our guys stepped up to the challenge," said head coach Ryan Odom. "It was a gritty win. A lot of guys stepped up and elevated their play and made big plays on both ends of the court. That's what college basketball should be all about – a fun, passionate game."
The Wildcats appeared to have the game under control after junior post Tanner Leissner buried two free throws with 2.3 seconds left in the first overtime frame to give the visitors a 92-89 lead. After a time out, UMBC sophomore forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) three-quarter court length pass found forward Will Darley (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) and the senior turned and buried a 24-footer just right of the key before the buzzer to send the game to a second overtime period.
Lyles scored 28 points for the victors, but he had plenty of help. Elliott scored a season-high 22 points, and freshman Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) sparked a second half rally, knocking down three consecutive treys and amassing 14 points.
Leissner was brilliant, scoring 36 points, hitting 11-of-17 shots from the floor, four-of-eight from behind the arc and all 10 free throw attempts.
New Hampshire took control early in the second half, outscoring UMBC, 14-4, in the first 3:58 of the period to take a 52-42 lead. When UNH freshman guard Keon Burns buried a trey at the 11:17 mark, the Wildcats led, 61-50, and the visitors maintained a 68-59 lead on Jordan Reed's trey with 6:31 remaining.
But Lyles responded with a three, and the Lamar knocked down three treys in a span of 1:22 to trim the Wildcat lead to 72-71 at the 4:09 mark. After a UNH time out and a rare miss by Leissner, Retriever junior guard Jourdan Grant (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) buried a three to give the hosts their first lead of the half.
New Hampshire responded with a 6-0 run and led, 78-74 with 1:20 to play in regulation. UMBC junior guard K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.) hit two free throws with 27 seconds left to bring the hosts within two, then forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds play. Lyles drove to the basket and tied the game at 78-all with 20 seconds to play and Smith's attempt at a game-winner with three seconds left was off the mark.
Trailing 90-86 in the first overtime period, Elliott hit a critical trey from the right corner after a Darley offensive rebound and assist to bring UMBC within one point, setting up Darley for the game-tying shot.
UMBC shot 50 percent from the floor, hitting 36 of 72 field goals. Led by Lamar's season-high four treys, the Retrievers converted 11-of-25 from behind the arc and netted 22-of-28 from the free throw line. They only committed seven turnovers in 50 minutes of playing time.
Lyles hit 11-of-23 from the field and added a team-high eight rebounds. Lamar came up one point short of his season high with 14 points, while Darley added 12 and Sherburne scored 10. Sophomore post Sam Schwietz (Frisco, Texas) rejected four shots to go along with four points and four rebounds.
Two Wildcats posted double-doubles, as Smith scored 21 points and added 10 assists and senior forward Iba Camara recorded 23 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
UNH outrebounded UMBC, 52-38, and outscored UMBC, 24-10, in second chance points. But the Retrievers' bench, paced by Elliott and Lamar, outscored UNH's, 49-5.
The first half was as evenly played as possible, as the Wildcats led for 8:51, while the Retrievers led for 8:37. The initial surge was made by UMBC as Lyles scored 10 points and staked the hosts to a 16-9 advantage at the 13:56 mark. The Retrievers still led, 20-13, when the Wildcats embarked on a 21-9 run to take a 34-29 advantage with 3:22 remaining in the period.
But Elliott, who scored 11 first-half points, drained a trey from the right side to tie the score at 38-all in the final minute and the teams went to the intermission deadlocked.
UMBC has scored more than 100 points three times this season, the most since doing it four times in the 1991-92 season… They improved to 8-2 at home and 7-1 in day games.
The Retrievers start the second half of league play at Binghamton on Wednesday.