West Hartford, Conn.-- A valiant comeback effort fell just short in Hartford on Tuesday, as UMBC falls to 3-23, 1-12 AE on the year. The Retrievers had a chance to tie the game late, but the shot fell just short.
UMBC got out to a great start, getting an alley-oop slam from senior Devarick Houston (Jonesboro, Ga./Mays) off a feed from Jourdan Grant (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding). The Retrievers would grab an early lead, as they turned to their defensive pressure to force early Hartford turnovers.
The Retrievers would grab an early 10-8 lead midway through the half, thanks to four quick points from Houston.
Hartford would climb back into the game, and overtake the lead just four minutes later. The Hawks would extend that lead after going on a 9-0 run over a four minute span to lead 17-10. Houston would end the run with a trey from the corner, cutting the deficit to four.
However Hartford would take a 23-18 lead into the locker rooms. Houston led the Retriever offense with seven points, adding three boards. Junior post Cody Joyce (Churchton, Md./Southern) added five first half points and three caroms.
Freshman Malcolm Brent (Silver Spring, Md./Northwood) opened the second half on fire. He scored the first ten points for the Retrievers, and his second three gave them a 28-27 lead.
Back and forth the two sides would fight in the half, as Hartford went on a run to push ahead by 11, 49-38 midway through the half.
Then it was time for the Retrievers to rally. Grant and Joyce led the charge, as little by little, UMBC scratched and clawed their way back. Hartford aided the run by missing key free throws down the stretch, allowing the Retrievers back in the game.
With four seconds on the clock, UMBC had their shot to force overtime. Brent recieved the inbounds pass, and found a wide open Will Darley (Timonium, Md./Dulaney/Fishbourne Academy), but his shot just missed the mark as time expired. The Hawks would hold on to win 55-52.
Joyce led the charge pouring in 17 points and nine boards, while Brent had 13 and five. Houston recorded a double-double with ten points and ten caroms.
Jourdan Grant recorded three assists, making him the sixth UMBC freshman to record 100 assists in a season.
The Retrievers are back on the hardwood on Saturday, Feb. 21 when they host Maine. The matchup with the Black Bears tips at 1:00 p.m. and will air on ESPN3.