Lyles Scores 32, But UMBC Can't Hold On To Late Lead at Vermont, Fall 79-72

Lyles Scores 32, But UMBC Can't Hold On To Late Lead at Vermont, Fall 79-72
Burlington, Vt. – UMBC sophomore guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) scored a career-high 32 points and the Retrievers held a late lead at Vermont, but the Catamounts prevailed, 79-72, at Patrick Gym.

Lyles' 32 points is the most by a Retriever versus a Division I foe since Darryl Proctor netted 33 points versus Boston University on March 7, 2009. He also led UMBC with five rebounds and five assists and he added three steals.


The Retrievers (5-16, 1-5 AE) trailed, 63-55 with seven minutes remaining, when a pair of forced turnovers keyed a 11-0 run, which put the visitors ahead, 66-63, as Lyles hit one of two free throws with 4:40 to play.


But on Vermont's ensuing possession, junior wing Kurt Steidl buried a trey to tie the score. After UMBC missed on the other end, Ernie Duncan's jumper with 3:18 to play gave the Catamounts the lead for good. They built the advantage to 73-67 before a Lyles' trey broke a drought of over five minutes from the field for UMBC.


The Retrievers would force a turnover with 58 seconds left, but freshman Sam Schwietz (Frisco, Texas) could not convert a pair of free throws four seconds later. Vermont's Cam Ward sealed the win as he ran the shot clock down and hit a driving layup and the subsequent free throw to put the hosts up, 76-70 with 30 seconds left.  


Lyles buried 11-of-20 shots from the floor and excelled behind the arc, converting 5-of-7. But only red-shirt sophomore guard Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll) joined Lyles in double figures with 13 points.


Vermont (12-9, 4-2 AE) was led by Steidl, who scored 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting from behind the arc. The Catamounts hit 9-of-21 from long range and 31-of-53 (58.5%) against a Retriever team, which predominantly played a 2-3 zone defense.


UMBC responded with a 53.1 percent effort from the floor, hitting 26 of 49 shots. But the Retrievers struggled from the charity stripe, missing 8-of-18 second half attempts. UMBC was also outscored, 11-2, on second-chance opportunities.


Vermont led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but settled for a 32-26 lead at the break.


Lyles is now averaging 26.0 points per game through his first 10 outings as a Retriever.


UMBC next faces Binghamton in Vestal, N.Y. on Wednesday, Jan. 27.