The UMBC men's basketball team (18-10, 9-6 America East) attempts to host its first #AEPlayoff game and the first post-season game in the RAC Arena since the championship game of 2008 when the Retrievers travel to New Hampshire to take on the UNH Wildcats (18-11, 9-6 AE).
A UMBC victory would guarantee a top-four seed for the Retrievers and they would host a quarterfinal contest on Wed., March 1. A Wildcat victory does the same for the home squad and puts UMBC on the road at either UNH or Albany on Wednesday.
The contest tips just after 1:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3.
Live stats will be available via www.umbcretrievers.com 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: UMBC reached the 18-win plateau for just the fourth time in 30 NCAA Division I seasons and celebrated the Senior Nights of Will Darley and Ben Grace by upsetting Stony Brook, 65-52, in the regular season finale at the RAC Arena on Wednesday night.
The Retrievers, the top offensive team in America East, but next-to-last in defense, allowed a season-low 52 points to Stony Brook. UMBC also broke an 18-game losing streak to the Seawolves that extended back to the 2007-08 campaign.
Lyles leads the squad and is second in America East in scoring, averaging 18.6 points per game. The 6'2" guard is also UMBC's top rebounder at 6.5 caroms per game, good for fifth in the conference.
Darley is now scoring at a clip of 16.3 points per game and is averaging 19.3 points per outing (2nd in the league) in America East contests. He is now ranked 12th in the nation in 3-pt. field goal percentage (45.7 percent) and 29th in free throw percentage (88.4 percent).
Sophomore forward Joe Sherburne leads the conference in 3-pt. field goal percentage at 48.4 percent and is averaging 11.6 points per contest.
Darley (999 career points), Lyles (997), junior guard Rodney Elliott (987) and are all within range of the 1,000 point plateau.
Through games of Feb. 22, UMBC was 22nd in the nation in scoring average at 81.7 points per game. They are also 14th nationally with 9.9 three-point field goals made per game and 8th in 3-pt. field goal percentage (40.9 percent).
MORE DOG BYTES: As of Feb. 22, UMBC was the 2nd-most improved Division I team in the nation with a 13.0-game improvement (7-25 to 18-10) over a year ago. Minnesota stood 1.5 games ahead at +14.5.
UMBC has already shattered a season record for 3-point field goals made in a season. The Retrievers have 278, shattering the mark of 248, which was set in the 2007-08 campaign.
UMBC recorded a season-low points against when they defeated Stony Brook, 65-52. It is the fewest points allowed by UMBC since falling at Loyola Md., 45-38, in November of 2014.
WILDCATS' UPDATE: The Wildcats (18-11, 9-6 AE) have been one of the streakier teams in America East this season. They opened league play by winning five of seven, then dropped four straight, before reeling off their current surge of four in a row.
The trio of junior post Tanner Leissner (17.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and senior guards Jaleen Smith (15.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Daniel Dion (13.8 ppg, 89 treys) are the most potent in the league. UNH has the best 3-point defense in the league, holding teams to just 32.5 percent efficiency. They are second in total defense, allowing just 65.1 points per game and in rebounding margin (+6.4).
UNH has won its last three games by double-digit margins, including Wednesday's 78-67 win at UML. Leissner paced the effort with 24 points.
THE SERIES: UMBC snapped a five-game slide to UNH with the win a month ago. The Wildcats lead the all-time series, 16-10, and have won eight of 12 contests at Lundholm Gym. UNH has taken three straight meetings in Durham since the Retrievers prevailed, 82-76, in the opening league game of the 2012 campaign.
This is the second consecutive campaign that the two teams have wrapped up the regular season in Durham.
EARLIER MEETING: UMBC rallied three times in the final 40 seconds of regulation and both overtime periods and pulled off a stunning 105-103 double overtime victory over New Hampshire at the RAC Arena on Jan. 30.
Jairus Lyles scored 28 points for the victors, but he had plenty of help. Rodney Elliott scored a season-high 22 points, and freshman Arkel Lamar sparked a second half rally, knocking down three consecutive treys and amassing 14 points. Full a full recap, see http://www.umbcretrievers.com/sports/mbkb/2016-17/releases/20170128q59r06.
WHO'S UP NEXT: UMBC will be in action in the quarterfinals of the #AEPlayoffs. They will either make a return visit to Durham or host a contest on Wednesday, March 1, with a starting time of 7:30 p.m.