Portland, Maine – UMBC sophomore guard Jairus Lyles scored 37 points, the third-most in school history, leading the Retrievers to an 83-79 victory over Maine in a contest played at the Portland Expo Center.
Lyles scored the top figure by a Retriever in 24 seasons, tallying the most points since Derell Thompson set the UMBC record when he scored 43 points at Towson on Feb. 15, 1992.
He hit 14-of-19 shots from the floor, three-of-five from behind the arc and six-of-seven from the charity stripe in 39 minutes. The 14 field goals made is one shy of a UMBC Division I record.
Led by Lyles, the Retrievers (6-19, 2-8 America East) converted a season-high 60 percent (33-of-55) of their field goal attempts. Senior post Cody Joyce (Churchton, Md./Southern) went 4-of-4 (10 pts.), while freshman center Nolan Gerrity (Cleveland, Ohio) scored a season-high 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor.
Freshman Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) was the fourth Retriever in double figures, scoring 12 points, but leading the visitors with a season-best 12 rebounds. UMBC outrebounded Maine, 43-25 and allowed only 5 second-chance points.
Despite their efficiency from the floor, the Retirevers could not shake Maine, despite leading for all but 4:25 of the contest. In fact, the Black Bears had a handful of second-half leads and were still tied at 63-all with 8:04 remaining. But a Gerrity put UMBC ahead for good at the 7:55 mark, and after Maine hit one of two free throws, Lyles buried a trey to give the Retrievers a 68-64 advantage 33 seconds later.
A Lyles lay-up with 75 seconds left pushed the margin to 78-70, but UMBC missed two front ends of one-and-one free throw chances and the Black Bears stayed within striking distance. Maine's Kevin Little buried a long trey with three seconds left to bring the hosts to within 82-79, but UMBC junior forward Will Darley (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) hit the second of two free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Lyles had scored 24 or more points in 12 of his 14 games as a Retriever since becoming eligible in mid-December. He is now averaging 25.4 points per game.
Maine (8-15, 4-6 AE) sophomore guard Aaron Calixte led four Black Bears in double figures with 18 points.
UMBC trailed for just 15 seconds of the first half, as the Retrievers scored a season-high 44 points on 18-of-27 shooting. Lyles scored seven quick points, as the Retrievers burst out to an 11-2 lead, but the Black Bears heated up and would take their lone lead of the half at 23-22 on a Ilija Stojiljkovic trey with 8:38 to play in the half. The Retrievers quickly recaptured the advantage, but their five-point halftime lead was curtailed by 12 first-half turnovers.
The Retrievers held Maine to just 34.3 percent shooting in the second half, but the Black Bears stayed in the game by converting 15-of-17 from the free throw line.
UMBC returns home on Thursday, Feb. 11 to take on America east leader Stony Brook. Tip-off time is set for 7:00 p.m.