BALTIMORE – UMBC guard Wayne Sparrow (Baltimore, Md./St. Frances) scored a career high 20 points, leading three players in double figures and the Retrievers captured their first victory of the season, outlasting Longwood, 58-53, at the RAC Arena.
The Retrievers (1-9) hit 11-of-17 shots from the floor in the second half and ended up at 50 percent (19-of-38) for the game. UMBC held Longwood (3-7) to 33.8 percent shooting and sent the Lancers to the free throw line only three times.
Sparrow hit four-of-five shots from behind the arc, led the squad with seven caroms and added four steals.
UMBC senior wing Devarick Houston (Mays, Ga.) added a season-best 13 points and blocked a pair of Lancer shots and freshman guard Malcolm Brent converted four-of-seven from long distance and tied his season high with 15 points.
Sparrow gave UMBC the lead for good with a three-pointer to give the hosts a 45-42 advantage with 7:29 remaining. The Retrievers capped an 8-2 run on a trey by Brent and they owned the largest lead of the night by either side at 52-44 with 2:43 remaining.
Longwood got as close as three points on two occasions in the final minute as Quincy Taylor's layup cut the deficit to 56-53 with 40 seconds remaining. But Sparrow hit two free throws after the ensuing inbounds play and the Retrievers would get three consecutive stops after failing to convert on six free throw attempts to earn the hard-fought triumph.
The largest lead in the first half was five points as Longwood used an 8-1 run to get out to a 20-15 lead with 5:04 remaining in the first half. But a spectacular steal and lay-in by Sparrow sparked a 12-5 UMBC response, which culminated in an off-balance trey by Sparrow to give the hosts a 27-25 lead with one minute remaining in the half. The Lancers scored the final field goal of the half, and for the third time in ten games, UMBC went to the locker room tied, this time at 27-all.
The 20-points scored by Sparrow was UMBC's first 20-point performance since Rodney Elliott scored 21 points at Hartford on March 2, 2014.
Junior wing Shaquille Johnson led the Lancers with 17 points and Taylor added 15, including 10 in the second half.
The meeting between the squads was the first at the Division I level. UMBC and Longwood were members of the NCAA Division II Mason-Dixon Conference from 1983-1986. It was also UMBC's first contest versus a member of the Big South Conference since departing that league after the 1995-96 campaign.
UMBC's students complete final exams this week and the Retrievers will not play until Sat., Dec. 20 when they travel to Kennesaw State.