Greeley, Colo. – UMBC senior post Cody Joyce (Churchton, Md./Southern) scored a career-high 30 points as the visiting Retrievers knocked off Northern Colorado, 81-72, in the Maui Jim Maui Regional Games opener.
UMBC (1-3) will now face Cal Poly (2-2) in the title game on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. (EST). The Mustangs knocked off Austin Peay, 73-64, in the opening game of the day at Bank of Colorado Arena.
Joyce hit 11-of-14 shots from the field and all eight free throw attempts to lead the Retrievers. Sophomore guard Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll) scored all 16 of his points in the second half, while freshman wing Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) added 10 points for the victors.
UMBC led, 32-30 at the break, but the hosts knotted the game at 34-all just 46 seconds into the second half. But Elliott drained a trey on the next possession and added another several possessions later, sparking a 12-3 run which gave the Retrievers a 46-37 advantage with 13:52 remaining.
The Bears would trim the deficit to 54-49 with 9:50 to play, but UMBC answered with a critical 9-0 surge to build a 63-49 advantage with 6:05 to play. Freshman post Sam Schwietz (Frisco, Texas) converted a pair of lay-ups and Joyce capped the run to give the Retrievers a comfortable margin down the stretch.
Elliott made all eight of his free throws in the final 1:17 to maintain the margin. He added a game-high six assists and corralled six rebounds in only 25 minutes of action.
UMBC hit 16-of-26 shots from the floor in the second half and finished the game at 49 percent (24-of-49). The Retrievers, who entered the game below 50 percent from the charity stripe, hit 26-of-33 attempts (79 percent).
Guard Cameron Mitchell led Northern Colorado with 22 points.
The first half featured six ties and seven lead changes and neither team led by more than three points. Joyce dominated inside, hitting 5-of-7 from the paint and converted all six free throw attempts. The Retrievers continued to struggle from the floor, misfiring on 15 of 23 shots from the floor and 10-of-12 from behind the arc. But UMBC was on the mark from the line, as UMBC converted on 14-of-16, propelled the visitors to a 32-30 advantage at the break.
UMBC outrebounded UNC, 40-29 and only committed 11 turnovers.
The 81 points is a season-high for UMBC and the most since they scored 88 at Duquesne two seasons ago.