Washington, D.C.- The UMBC men's basketball lost a tough 63-61 overtime decision at American at Bender Arena on Thursday evening.
The Eagles (1-1) hit field goals with less than two seconds to play in regulation and in overtime to tie and take the lead for good.
UMBC senior forward Chase Plummer (Plainfield, N.J./St. Patrick) led the squad with 12 points and posted his 11th career double-double with 12 rebounds.
UMBC led, 53-45, after a Malik Garner (Philadelphia, Pa./Chestnut Hill Acad.) jumper with 3:52 remaining. UMBC still led, 55-51 after a Plummer field goal with 54 seconds left, but the Retriever senior missed an opportunity to extend the lead to five with a missed free throw.
American's Darius Gardner hit a driving layup with 41.2 seconds to play to cut the deficit to two. The Retrievers ran the clock down, but Plummer was called for travelling with 8.9 seconds remaining. Gardner drove into the lane and hit a runner with 1.8 seconds to play to send the game to overtime.
A disconsolate UMBC squad allowed the first six points of the extra session, but did rally at the line and tied the score at 61-all when freshman guard Rodney Elliott hit a pair with 14.7 seconds to play.
But Gardner drove the lane and dished to Jesse Reed, who hit his only field goal of the game to give the Eagles a 63-61 lead with 1.4 seconds to play. UMBC attempted a lob with 0.2 seconds to play, but did not get a shot off.
UMBC's struggles from the free throw line persisted, as the Retrievers missed seven of ten in the critical second half and finished at 12-of-22 (54.5%) for the game.
Gardner led all scorers with 22 points and he added nine rebounds, six steals and four assists.
The game was the second consecutive overtime contest for UMBC (1-2) and marked the second consecutive year that American defeated UMBC in extra time.
Both teams struggled from the floor and the game lacked flow with a total of twenty fouls whistled in the first half. UMBC got out to a 9-4 lead after a three-point field goal by freshman Charles Taylor, Jr. (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook) with 15:37 left in the first half, but a subsequent 8-0 American surge put the Eagles out front 12-9 three minutes later.
UMBC would knot the score at 18-all on a jumper by Taylor (initially ruled a three-pointer), but the Eagles scored the next eight points to take a 26-18 advantage with 3:20 to play in the half. The Retrievers rebounded to tally the final six points of the half, including a layup by senior post Brett Roseboro (Quakertown, Pa./Quakertown) just ahead of the buzzer which sliced UMBC's deficit to 26-24 at the break.
All nine Retrievers to see action hit the scoring column. UMBC hit 14-of-26 shots from the floor in the second half and finished at 41.4% (24-of-58) for the game. They held AU to 36.4 percent shooting, but allowed the Eagles 16 offensive rebounds.