Grant, Grace Spark UMBC Rally, But Retrievers Fall Short, 76-69, at Binghamton

Grant, Grace Spark UMBC Rally, But Retrievers Fall Short, 76-69, at Binghamton

Vestal, N.Y. – UMBC buried 9-of-13 treys and scored 45 points in the second half, but could not dig out of an early hole and fell, 76-69, to host Binghamton at the Events Center.


The undermanned Retrievers completed the regular season at 4-25 and 2-14 in the America East Conference. They earned the No. 7 seed in the upcoming conference tournament and will travel to No. 2 Vermont (17-12, 12-4) for a quarter-final match-up on Wednesday, March 4.


Four Retrievers scored in double figures, led by freshman guard Jourdan Grant (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding), who posted 19 points and added a team-best seven rebounds and a game-high six assists. Junior post Cody Joyce (Churchton, Md./Southern) added 18 points, sophomore walk-on guard Ben Grace (Baltimore, Md./The Gilman School) tied his career high with 17 points and senior forward Devarick Houston (Jonesboro, Ga.) added 13 points.


A rocky start put UMBC behind from the outset. The visitors turned the ball over in four of their first six possesions and trailed, 9-1, just 4:45 into the game. The deficit grew to as great as 23-10 with 8:11 to play in the stanza, but a 10-2 Retriever rally, capped by a layup by Houston cut the gap to 25-20 with 3:56 remaining in the half. Despite 10 first half turnovers, UMBC trailed only, 31-24, at the break.


A pair of three-point plays by Joyce and Grant sparked a quick 6-2 run to start the half and got within 33-30 in the early stages of the second half. But the Bearcats responded with a 15-5 surge, capped by a pair of treys restored a double digit lead at 48-35 with 14:33 remaining.


Binghamton still led by 12 points at 61-49 with 6:20 to play when Grace sparked a rally by knocking down three treys over a span of 2:42 to whittle the deficit to 69-65 with 2:09 remaining.


But just 17 seconds later, BU guard Marlon Beck (20 points) hit a trifecta from the top of the key and the Retrievers never had the ball in a two-possession game down the stretch.


UMBC hit 14-of-27 shots from their the floor in the second half and finished at 48.9% (22-of-45) for the game. Binghamton was not quite as proficient, hitting 42.6 percent overall, but nearly matched the Retrievers' three-point proficiency in the second half, burying 6-of-9.   


Grace, who also scored 17 points in his first collegiate start versus Binghamton one month ago, hit 5-of-8 from behind the arc and added three assists.


Bearcat freshman forward Willie Rodriguez led all players with 21 points and nine rebounds.


Grant played 38 minutes and became the 12th player in school history to play 1,000 minutes in a season. He has played the second-most minutes of any freshman in the country and his 117 assists is four shy of a Retriever record for assists by a rookie.


Joyce tied his career mark by scoring in double figures for the eighth straight game. He has totaled double-digit points in 22 of 29 games this season and is nine points shy of becoming the 18 th UMBC Division I player to score 400 points in a season.