Men's Basketball Win Streak Halted at Five; Hartford Outlasts Retrievers, 70-61

photo by: Gail Burton
photo by: Gail Burton

BALTIMORE – UMBC's five-game winning streak and seven-game home winning streak came to an end, as the Harford Hawks outlasted the Retrievers, 70-61, before 1,888 at the UMBC Event Center.

UMBC fell to 14-10 overall and 6-3 in America East play, while Hartford improved to 12-12, 5-4.

For just the seventh time this season and the second time in the last ten games, UMBC was outscored in the second half. The Retrievers entered the contest as the nation's No. 3 second-half team (+150 points), but Hartford scored 18 points at the free throw line in the second half and outscored UMBC, 38-28.

Three Retrievers totaled double figures, paced by junior guard K.J. Jackson (Houston, Texas), who scored 16 points, but fouled out with 57 seconds left and UMBC trailing, 63-56. Junior forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) added 13 points and a team-best nine rebounds, while freshman guard R.J. Eytle-Rock added 11 points.

Hartford point guard J.R. Lynch hit 15-of-16 free throws, with 12 coming in the final 20 minutes and led all scorers with 28 points.

UMBC led, 33-32 at halftime, but Hartford scored the first five points of the second half and never trailed. Trailing 40-35, Eytle-Rock hit a trey and a jumper to knot the game at 40-all at the 14:38 mark, but UH's Jason Dunne buried a trey on the next possession to give the Hawks a lead they would not relinquish.

The Retrievers misfired on 13 of their first 16 shots from the floor in the half as UH built the lead to 59-49 with 3:20 remaining. Jackson knocked down a trey and freshman Jose Placer (Orlando, Fla.) converted a follow-up lay-in to trium the gap to 59-54 with 1:47 remaining.

But Hartford got the ball into the hands of Lynch and he hit four straight free throws surrounding a Lamar missed jump shot to end hopes of a UMBC rally.

UMBC made only 9-of-27 shots from the floor and 2-of-10 from long range in the second half and finished the game below 40 percent (21-of-53, 39.6 percent). Hartford did not reach the 40 percent mark either, but 10 of its 19 field goals were treys and they converted 22 free throws, compared to 11 by the hosts.

UMBC graduate student forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) buried three first-half treys and moved into a tie for third place on the school's al-time list with 250.      

The week off seemed to freshen UMBC offensively in the first half, as the Retrievers buried 6-of-12 treys and were over 50 percent from the floor until the latter stages of the period. The hosts got out to a 17-7 lead at the 11:22 mark, but a Hawk 13-4 run trimmed their deficit to 21-20 three minutes later. Sherburne would bury a pair of treys, including the historic 250th, but Hartford matched UMBC point-for-point down the stretch and the Retrievers held a slim 33-32 lead at the break.  

UMBC travels to Maine for a rare Sunday contest, with tip-off time at Cross Insurance Center commencing at 1:00 p.m.