Men's Basketball Drops Heartbreaker at Richmond, 78-75

Men's Basketball Drops Heartbreaker at Richmond, 78-75

RICHMOND  – Junior guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) put on a dazzling display with a game-high 29 points and UMBC built a 14-point second half lead, but the host Richmond Spiders prevailed, 78-75, before 5,552 fans at the Robins Center.

After a Valpo-style pair of passes from sophomore forward Joe Sherburne to senior forward Will Darley, and from Darley to Lyles, the guard had a 30-footer just before the final horn to send the game to overtime, but his shot bounded off the rim.

The Retrievers slip to 7-2 on the season, while UR improves to 5-4. It was just the second game decided by six points or less for UMBC – both on the road – and the Retrievers are 1-1 in those decisions.

The Spiders had whittled their deficit to four points at 50-45 before Sherburne's (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) trey restored the lead to 53-45. But UMBC would score just two points over the next 6:37 and the Spiders took their first lead of the half at 56-55 with 7:10 to play.

Junior guard Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll) and  Darley (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) responded with a driving layup and a trey respectively to put the visitors back in front, 60-56. Richmond tied the game at 60-all before a mid-range bank by Darley gave UMBC its last advantage of the game at 62-60 at the 2:51 mark.

Richmond, which struggled from beyond the arc most of the night, got back-to-back treys from Khwan Fore and ShawnDré Jones, sandwiched around a UMBC missed free throw and took a 66-62 advantage with 1:50 remaining.

Each team scored on its next six possessions until Lyles' missed attempt at the buzzer. UR converted its final 10 free throws of the game.  UMBC had two opportunities to tie the score after Sherburne had cut the gap to 72-71 with 15 seconds remaining. Jones hit two free throws a second later, but Lyles countered with a follow-up layup at the six-second mark.

Jones would net two more charity shots with five seconds remaining to put the Spiders ahead, 76-73, then Richmond fouled Lyles intentionally to prevent a possible game-tying trey. Lyles made both, but UR's T.J. Cline countered with two free throws with 1.5 seconds left, setting up the final dramatic effort by Lyles.

Sherburne added 18 points for UMBC, hitting 4-of-7 shots from behind the arc. Elliott scored a season-high 12 points in 17 minutes off the bench, while Darley added 11.

Jones led UR with 19 points and led his teammates to a 24-of-26 effort from the charity stripe.   

UMBC struggled out of the gate, falling behind, 19-9, nine minutes into the contest. But Sherburne hit a trey on the Retrievers' next possession, sparking the visitors. He would hit another field goal and trifecta in the run, which was quickly taken over by Lyles.

Lyles scored nine consecutive UMBC points as the Retrievers outscored UR, 25-9, and took a 34-28 lead with 2:27 remaining in the stanza. The dazzling guard finished the half with a twisting layup to post his 18th and 19th points of the half and give the Retrievers a 41-33 lead at the break.

UMBC scored 32 points over the final 10:42 of the first half.

The Retrievers hit 13 of their final 19 field goals of the half and five of their final eight and outrebounded the bigger Spiders, 17-15, over the first 20 minutes.

UMBC finished at 48.3 percent (28-of-58) for the game and managed to convert 8-of-23 from 3-point range. UR managed just 42.1 percent shooting (24-of-57), but outrebounded UMBC, 23-13 in the second half and 38-30 for the contest.

The Retrievers begin the exam period on Thursday, Dec. 15 and get back into action on Saturday, Dec. 17 when they host local rival Towson at the RAC Arena. A 7 p.m. tip-off time is slated for the Retrievers and Tigers.