Baltimore, Md. - The UMBC men's basketball team rallied from a 12-point second half deficit and edged visiting Saint Peter's, 81-78 before 2,942 fans at the RAC Arena in the opening game for both teams.
The win avenged a Peacock 67-56 win in the 2006-07 opener in Jersey City, N.J.
Senior newcomer Ray Barbosa (Allentown, Pa.) led the second half surge with 14 points in the final 20 minutes and produced a game high 23 points. He earned America East Player of the Game honors.
After an early tie at 2-2, Saint Peter's utilized some brilliant shooting led for the nearly all of first 35 minutes of play. The Retrievers took their first lead of the game at 69-68 as senior guard Brian Hodges (Upper Marlboro, Md./Bishop McNamara) had a stick-back of a missed shot with 4:30 remaining. The Peacocks would recapture the lead and held a 73-72 advantage inside of two minutes remaining.
But Barbosa was fouled going after a loose ball on a Nick Leon turnover and the James Madison transfer hit two free throws to give the hosts the lead for good at 74-73 with 1:52 remaining. After a Peacock turnover and a missed jumper by UMBC, the game's key play occurred when Saint Peter's freshman post Ryan Bacon missed a dunk with 42 seconds remaining and the Retrievers ran down the loose ball. After whittling down the clock, junior guard Jay Greene (Whitehall, Pa.) found Barbosa alone under the basket for a lay-in with 19 seconds remaining.
Greene would come up with a steal on Saint Peter's next possession and converted both free throws with seven seconds left to give UMBC a 78-73 lead with seven seconds remaining.
Greene, who led the America East Conference in assists last season, recorded 10 and posted zero turnovers in 37 minutes of action. He scored eight points and added four steals. Hodges, who moved into 12th place on UMBC's all-time scoring list with 1,094 points, added 14 points, while junior newcomer Darryl Proctor (District Heights, Md./Paul IV) was the third Retriever in double figures with 11 points and eight caroms.
Senior James Madison transfer Cavell Johnson (Fort Washington, Md./Notre Dame Acad.) had nine points, a game-high nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
Senior guard Raul Orta, who hit all six field goal attempts in the first half, led the Peacocks with 19 points, while freshman guard Darryl Lampley debuted with 15 points.
Saint Peter's his 17 of 29 shots in the first half, including seven of 13 from behind the arc. They finished at 51.8% (29/56) for the game. The guests led, 43-36 at intermission.
UMBC hit just 40 percent (24/60), but made 27 (of 37) free throws, 17 more than their guests. The Retrievers outrebounded the Peacocks, 36-32 and forced 17 turnovers, while committing just nine.
UMBC returns to action on Tuesday night at LaSalle.
Notes: Greene recorded 10 or more assists for the fourth time in his career... UMBC has now won its last five home openers and eight of the last ten... UMBC's highs in free throws made (25) and attempted (35) last year occurred on Nov. 27 at Morgan State... the win was UMBC'ss first over Saint Peter's in four meetings.