DURHAM, N.H. – The UMBC men's basketball team shot just 27.5% (11-for-40) and turned the ball over 19 times as New Hampshire never trailed following a three-point basket 45 seconds into the game, and held off the Retrievers, 56-42, Wednesday night in America East action at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Freshman guard Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll) led UMBC (5-12, 1-3 AE) with a game-high ten points while grabbing seven rebounds and was named the Retrievers' America East Player of the Game. Elliott's backcourt mate Bryan Harris (Oxon, Hill, Md./Southern/Massanutten Academy) added ten points for the Black and Gold.
Daniel Dion led a balanced attack for New Hampshire (3-13, 1-2 AE) with 13 points, including three 3-pointers as four Wildcats ended the game with double-digit points. Frank Okeke scored 12 points and grabbed 11 boards for the double-double to earn America East Player of the Game accolades for UNH.
The visitors' turnover struggles started immediately as they lost the ball out of bounds on the game's first possession after winning the tip. UNH converted the opportunity to get on the board first with Okeke draining a three at the other end. Neither team scored for the next two minutes, but it was Okeke again from long-range to lift the Wildcats to a 6-0 early lead.
Junior forward Devarick Houston (Jonesboro, Ga./Mays/Chattahoochee Tech) got UMBC on the board quickly thereafter swiping a pass at midcourt and throwing down a dunk. Less than a minute later, Harris hit a three-pointer from the corner to pull the Retrievers back within one, 6-5, at the 15:53 mark.
A Charles Taylor, Jr. (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook/Mt. Zion) free throw knotted the game at 6-6, but Gabriel Williams answered with a lay-in and New Hampshire never relinquished the lead after that point.
UMBC scored just eight points the remainder of the half as the hosts took a 26-14 lead into the break.
In the second half, the Wildcats extended the lead to 17, 32-15, on a free throw by Jacoby Armstrong, but the visitors would not go away and clawed back to within ten, 34-24, as Harris converted all three free throw attempts at the 14:45 mark. Following a three from Jaleen Smith, Elliott answered for the Retrievers to keep them within ten.
The rally was short-lived, however, as UNH was able to run the lead up to 22 with 4:12 as Dion scored on a lay-in for a 56-34 home lead.
UMBC now returns home for a weekend of America East action, first hosting Vermont on Saturday at the RAC Arena for a 2:00 p.m. tip and then welcoming Stony Brook on Monday afternoon.
- New Hampshire now leads the all-time series 13-9 and has won the last two meetings.
- UMBC was held to 14 points in the first half, marking the first time that the Retrievers were limited to less than 20 points in a half all season.
- The Retrievers fall to 5-10 when trailing at the half.
- UMBC's 42 points scored is the team's lowest offensive output since scoring 39 in an 83-39 loss at Stony Brook on Feb. 19, 2013.