BALTIMORE – UMBC built a late six-point lead, but could not hold on, falling, 73-61, in overtime to UMass Lowell in the Retrievers' America East Conference opener.
Four Retrievers posted double figures, including junior post Cody Joyce (Churchton, Md./Southern), who recorded his first career double-double. Joyce scored a game-high 18 points and added a career-best and game high 11 caroms.
UMBC held the River Hawks to only six second-half field goals, but four were from three-point range and UML converted all eight free throw attempts. Retriever freshman guard Malcolm Brent (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook) hit a trey to break a deadlock and give the hosts a 57-54 lead with 6:06 remaining. Joyce would hit three of four free throws to extend the UMBC advantage to 60-54 with 3:29 to play, but the River Hawks implemented a zone defense which stifled the Retriever offense down the stretch.
UML's leading scorer, freshman wing Jahad Thomas, who was held without a field goal in the game, hit four straight free throws to tie the score at 60-all with 45.7 seconds to play. UMBC played for the last shot, but committed a turnover and Thomas broke away for a potential game-winner in regulation. But UMBC senior forward Devarick Houston (Jonesboro, Ga./Mays) streaked down the court and rejected Thomas' lay-up attempt and Thomas' came up short on another attempt with two seconds left to send the game to overtime.
All five UMBC starters played over 40 minutes and the hosts could not muster any offense in overtime. UML ran its scoring streak to 11-0 on a trey by Lance Crawford and a lay-up by Brad Schaub before UMBC freshman guard Jourdan Grant (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) hit a free throw to break a UMBC drought of over five minutes by hitting one of two free throws. But the Retrievers (2-12, 0-1) would not score again and dropped its third in a row after a pair of wins.
UML was led by reserve guard Matt Harris, who tallied 17 points and the River Hawks improved to 8-7, 2-0.
UMBC grad student guard Wayne Sparrow (Baltimore, Md./St. Frances) added 14 points for UMBC, while Brent hit 4-of-8 from behind the arc to score 12. Houston added 10 points, while Grant recorded a season-best nine assists to go against just one miscue.
UMBC missed its final eight field goal attempts of the evening and finished at 42 percent (21-of-50) for the 45 minutes. They converted 13 of their first 16 free throw attempts of the night, but misfired on six of their final seven.
UMass Lowell hit their final 17 free throws of the game and finished at 18-of-20 for the game. Half of the River Hawks' 22 field goals were treys (11-of-27, 40.7%).
UMBC hosts New Hampshire at the RAC Arena on Sunday, Jan. 11 at 1:00 p.m.
Notes: Sparrow had converted 20 consecutive free throws, five shy of a school record, before missing a pair with 1:00 to play in overtime… Grant's nine assists is the most for a Retriever since Chris De La Rosa dropped ten dimes at VMI on Nov. 19, 2011.