Harrisonburg, Va. – UMBC junior guard Jairus Lyles scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, leading the Retrievers to a 62-61 victory at James Madison.
Sophomore forward Joe Sherburne added 18 points for UMBC. The nation's second-best three-point percentage shooter hit 5-of-7 shots from behind the arc.
UMBC's 9-3 record after 12 games is the best in the program's 30-year Division I history.
With the game knotted at 27-all at the half, Lyles quickly scored the opening basket of the second half and added two more field goals to provide the visitors with a 36-30 advantage just 3:08 into the period. The Dukes cut the deficit to 39-35, but junior guard K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.) knocked down a pair of threes around another Lyles jumper and UMBC surged out, 47-35, at the 13:12 mark.
The Retrievers would lead by as many as 13 points at 52-39 at the midpoint of the half, and were still in command, 62-50, after a Lyles trey with 5:33 remaining.
But UMBC would not score again and had to withstand a furious rally down the stretch by JMU. The Dukes' Dimitrije Cabarkapa nailed a trey with 37 seconds remaining to cap the 11-point surge.
Lyles drove to the basket and had his attempt rim out with 12 seconds remaining. Without a time out available, JMU's Joey McLean pulled up for a short jumper, which was just short, and the 5'8" Maura snared the rebound and drew a foul with 1.3 seconds to go.
But it was only the fourth team foul on JMU and, after a UMBC time out, they got the ball inbounds to the speedy Maura, who ran out the clock.
UMBC recovered from a tough shooting first half to bury 14-of-26 in the second half and finished at 46.8 percent (22-of-47) for the contest .The Retrievers converted 11-of-25 shots from behind the arc.
Lyles knocked down 9-of-16 shots from the floor and added six rebounds and four assists. Sherburne scored 18 points for the fourth consecutive game and is averaging 20.0 points per game over his last five contests.
Maura finished with 10 points and a game-high six assists.
UMBC got out to a 15-11 lead at the 11:33 mark after freshman Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) scored on a layup off a feed from Maura. But the Retrievers would not score again for 7:51, and JMU put up 14 points to take a 25-15 advantage after a Joey McLean trey with 3:14 to play in the period.
But Sherburne buried his third and fourth treys of the half, sparking a 12-2 response and UMBC knotted the game at 27-all at the break.
Sherburne scored 14 first half points, hitting four-of-six from long distance.
McLean, who like Sherburne ,buried 5-of-7 from long range, led JMU with 17 points. The Dukes (1-11) hit 9-of-19 from behind the arc and shot 41.1 percent overall.
UMBC's 1981-82 NCAA Division I squad was also 9-3 after 12 games.
The Retrievers get back to action on Wed., Dec. 28 when they return to the commonwealth to take on Virginia Tech.