Garner, Elliott Shine as Men's Basketball Outlasts Eastern in Overtime, 84-79

Sophomore co-captain Malik Garner
Sophomore co-captain Malik Garner

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BALTIMORE – UMBC sophomore forward Malik Garner (Philadelphia, Pa./Chestnut Hill Academy) shattered his career-high with 32 points and freshman guard Rodney Elliott (Batlimore, Md./John Carroll) hit a late 25-footer to send the game to overtime and the Retrievers prevailed, 84-79, in overtime over Eastern (Pa.) at the RAC Arena.

UMBC (1-1) trailed an inspired Eagles' team by 10 points, at 68-58, with 3:28 to play. But the Retrievers made a quick 7-0 run, capped by a thunderous dunk by junior Devarick Houston (Jonesboro, Ga./Mays)  to trim the deficit to 68-65 with 2:05 remaining.

Eastern held UMBC off, but Eagle forward Caleb Knudsen hit only one of two free throws with nine seconds left and the visitors only had a 71-68 advantage. After a UMBC time out, Elliott squared up from  behind the arc and buried his lone trey of the night with 2.4 seconds to play.

Garner, a sophomore captain, scored 12 of UMBC's 13 points in overtime. The Retrievers never led in regulation, but only trailed once, at 76-74, with 2:43 to play in overtime. EU's Malcolm Garrison had give his side that advantage with a trey, but Garner responded with a three of his own at the 2:19 mark and the hosts never trailed again.

UMBC built the lead to 81-76 on  a Garner layup with 38 seconds left, but Eastern freshman guard Shaquan Turk converted a three-point play to cut the deficit to 81-79 with 17 seconds remaining. But Garner calmly sunk two free throws with 10 seconds to play and another with three seconds left to seal the come-from-behind victory.      

Due to injuries and one-game player suspensions, UMBC dressed only eight players for the game and a pair Retrievers fouled out in overtime.

Garner just set a career high with 12 points at Arizona State on Nov. 8. He hit 9-of-14 shots from the floor and converted 12-of-18 from the charity stripe. He also recorded a career-best in rebounds (11) and posted his first career double-double.

Elliott added 19 points and a team-high five assists in his second collegiate game. Senior post Brett Roseboro (Quakertown, Pa./Quakertown) was the other Retriever in double figures with 15 and he added nine caroms.

Garrison and Turk scored 13 points each to lead Eastern.

There were 60 fouls whistled in the contest and four players, two aside, fouled out. UMBC continued its free throw woes, hitting only 27-of-50 attempts, while Eastern made two less (25) in 16 fewer attempts.

The Retrievers rallied off the strength of forcing 28 turnovers.

Eastern led, 41-29, at halftime, as the Eagles buried 5-of-11 three-point attempts in the first 20 minutes.

UMBC gets back in action on Thursday evening when they face American University in Washington, D.C.