Men's Basketball Hosts High-Scoring River Hawk Squad in Saturday Matinee

photo by: Mitchell Layton
photo by: Mitchell Layton

UMass Lowell at UMBC Game Notes 

The UMBC men's basketball team (16-10, 7-6 America East) hopes to get back to their winning ways overall and at the RAC Arena, but will have to overcome a high-scoring UMass Lowell River Hawk squad (11-18, 5-9 AE) to accomplish that feat on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off time is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and the contest will be broadcast on ESPN3, with Gary Stein, John Feinstein and Paul Mittermeier on the call.   


Live stats will be available via and fans can also follow via the men's basketball program's Twitter feed (UMBC_MBB). Access of live stats is also available via UMBC Front Row, UMBC Athletics' mobile website.


RETRIEVERS' UPDATE: Host Albany (17-11, 8-5 America East) a pair of second half substantial scoring runs to take control of a key league contest and defeated UMBC (16-10, 7-6 AE), 78-69, at SEFCU Arena on Wednesday evening.


The Retrievers have dropped three consecutive games for the first time in the 2016-17 campaign and have dropped into a fourth-place tie with UNH in the league standings.  


UMBC junior guard Jourdan Grant came off the bench to lead the Retrievers with a season-best 15 points. Classmate and backcourt mate K.J. Maura added 14 before fouling out down the stretch.


Junior guard Jarius Lyles leads the squad and is second in America East in scoring, averaging 19.0 points per game. The 6'2" guard is also UMBC's top rebounder at 6.6 caroms per game, good for fourth in the conference.  


Senior forward Will Darley, who earned America East co-Player of the Week and College Sports Madness AE Player of the week honors on Feb. 6, is scoring at a clip of 15.7 points per game and is averaging 18.7 points per outing (2nd in the league) in America East contests.  


Sophomore forward Joe Sherburne leads the conference in 3-pt. field goal percentage at 49.1 percent and is averaging 12.0 points per contest. Sherburne did not attempt a trey for the first time in his collegiate career (58 games) at Albany on Wednesday.


Lyles (970 career points), junior guard Rodney Elliott (969) and Darley (950) are all within range of the 1,000 point plateau.   


Through games of Feb. 12, UMBC was 22nd in the nation in scoring average at 81.8 points per game. They are also 20th nationally with 9.8 three-point field goals made per game and 13th in 3-pt. field goal percentage (40.5 percent).


MORE DOG BYTES:   There are 30 first-year head coaches and 21 first-year new school coaches (with previous DI experience) in 2016-17. As of Feb. 6, Ryan Odom has the greatest winning percentage differential of all of those coaches at an improvement of 47.7 percent over last season's final record.


As of Feb. 13, UMBC was the 2nd-most improved Division I team in the nation with a 12.5-game improvement (7-25 to 16-9) over a year ago. Minnesota stood one-half game ahead at +13.0.


UMBC has broken a season record for 3-point field goals made in a season. The Retrievers have 252, breaking the mark of 248, which was set in the 2007-08 campaign.


RIVER HAWKS' UPDATE: The River Hawks (11-18, 5-9 AE) won three of their first four America East games, but have posted just two wins and eight setbacks since Jan. 16. UML has dropped two straight, including an 87-84 overtime setback at Hartford and, most recently, an 87-66 loss to league unbeaten Vermont.


Junior guard/forward Jahad Thomas has produced a brilliant season, and leads the River Hawks in scoring (17.9 ppg, 3rd in AE), rebounding (9.3 pg, 2nd in AE) and assists (4.7 pg, 2nd in AE). Thomas, who leads America East in field goal percentage (58.8) earned three consecutive America East Player of the Week honors in January.


In America East, UML only trails UMBC in scoring, averaging 77.9 points per game and the River Hawks are second in field goal percentage at 47.8 percent. Three River Hawks have more than 50 treys, including senior wing Tyler Livingston (76), who averages 13.2 points per outing.


THE SERIES: UMass Lowell won the first six meetings in the series before UMBC earned its first win, a 102-86 triumph at Costello Athletic Center on Jan. 22.


UML is 3-0 at the RAC Arena and the last two victories (73-61, 2015; 95-89, 2016) both occurred in overtime. In both overtimes, UMBC failed to score a field goal and the Retrievers never led after 40 minutes.


EARLIER MEETING: UMBC used a furious second half rally, sparked by junior guard Jairus Lyles to earn a 102-86 victory on Sunday at UMass Lowell. The Retrievers hit 11 threes in the win, as three hit double figures.


Senior Will Darley led all scorers with 28 points, going 7-14 from the field including 11-11 from the free throw line. Lyles had 22 points on 10-20 shooting, adding seven rebounds.


Jahad Thomas led the River Hawks with 22 points and 11 rebounds.  


The Retriever bench stepped up, outscoring UML 31-6, including 18 points from Rodney Elliott.


WHO'S UP NEXT: UMBC completes the home portion of the regular season  by welcoming Stony Brook on Wed., Feb. 22. The Retrievers will honor seniors Will Darley and Ben Grace before the 7:00 p.m. tip-off versus the Seawolves. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats at 6:45 p.m. for the pre-game ceremony.