Men's Basketball Wins Home Opener, 70-52; Coach Aki Thomas Posts First Collegiate Victory


Freshman Malik Garner scored 10 points and added 8 rebounds in his home debut.

BALTIMORE- UMBC senior guard Ryan Cook (Laurel, Md./Pallotti) led a balanced effort with 14 points as the Retrievers got the home slate off to a good start with a 70-52 victory over Eastern (Pa.) before 1,719 at the RAC Arena.

The victory was the first for UMBC acting head coach Aki Thomas. It came against his great friend Nate Stewart, who shared the UMBC bench with Thomas from 2007-2011.  

Junior center Brett Roseboro (Quakertown, Pa./Quakertown) and freshman forward Malik Garner (Philadelphia, Pa./Chestnut Hill Academy) added 10 points apiece for UMBC, and Garner tied Cook for team-high rebounding honors with eight.

Three Eagles scored nine points each- junior guard Ben Connor, junior forward Jimmie Willis and freshman guard Malcolm Garrison. Willis earned game-high rebounding honors with nine.

UMBC, which lost a narrow 80-75 decision at Penn on Friday, evened its record at 1-1, while it was the first game of the season for Eastern.

The Retrievers never trailed, although Eastern was within 10-9 seven minutes into the game. Sparked by a alley-oop thunderous dunk by Roseboro, the hosts went on a 13-2 run and took control, 23-11, with 7:35 to play in the stanza.

UMBC led, 34-22, at the break, but Eastern stayed within range early in the second half, trailing just 41-31 at the 17:37 mark. But the Retrievers turned Eastern over twice en route to a 9-0 surge and led, 50-31, with 14:49 to play.

UMBC's largest lead was at 23 points at 58-35 with 11:08 remaining.

Freshman guard Aaron Morgan (Washington, Pa./Council Rock North) led the Retrievers with 28 minutes played.

The Retrievers hit 14 of 28 shots in the first half, but tailed off and finished at 43.9 percent (29-of-66) for the game. Eastern converted 16-of-46 shots (34.8%), but hit nine more free throws (17-9) than did the hosts.

UMBC faces cross-town rival Loyola (Md.) at Reitz Arena on Wednesday. The tip-off time is 9:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live by MASN.