Retrievers, Stags Meet for First Time in CIT First Round Contest on Wednesday

Retrievers, Stags Meet for First Time in CIT First Round Contest on Wednesday

Fairfield at UMBC, CIT First Round Notes 

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For the first time since the 2008 America East championship contest, the UMBC men's basketball program will host a post-season contest as the Retrievers (18-12) welcome Fairfield (16-14) in the first round of the College Insider Tournament. The game is set for the RAC Arena on Wednesday, March 15 at 7:00 p.m.


The game will be broadcast on Facebook Live with Gary Stein and Paul Mittermeier at the reigns. Live stats will be available via 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.


Now in its' ninth year, the 26-team CIT has had more schools make their postseason debut (25) and more programs win their first-ever postseason game (29) than all other tournaments combined during the eight seasons since the CIT was established in 2009.


The CIT uses the old NIT model in which there is no set bracket. Future round opponents are determined by the results of the previous round.


CIT games will be broadcast exclusively through Facebook Live, including all first round, second round and quarterfinal matchups. This enables the CIT to bring the excitement of postseason basketball to Facebook's global community of sports fans, which includes more than 650 million people connected to at least one sports Page on the platform.


The CIT semifinals and championship will be broadcast on CBS Sports for the fifth consecutive year. 


RETRIEVERS' UPDATE: Fifth-seeded UMBC cut a 13-point second half deficit to one, but could not complete the rally and fell at fourth-seeded New Hampshire (20-11), 74-65, in the quarterfinal round of the America East playoffs on March 1.  Junior guard Jairus Lyles led the Retrievers with 17 points.


One of the most prolific 3-point shooting teams in the nation, UMBC only managed to convert a season-low 3 treys in 16 attempts. The Retrievers shot 43.8 percent overall and only made seven trips to the free throw line, converting six. New Hampshire countered with 55.1 percent shooting from the floor (27-of-49) and 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from behind the arc.  


Lyles leads the squad and is second in America East in scoring, averaging 19.0 points per game. His 552 points scored in 2016-17 is the fourth-highest figure in school history. The 6'2" guard is also UMBC's top rebounder at 6.4 caroms per game, good for sixth in the conference.


Senior forward Will Darley is now scoring at a clip of 15.7 points per game.  He is now ranked sixth in the nation in 3-pt. field goal percentage (44.7 percent) and 20th in free throw percentage (88.7 percent).


Sophomore forward Joe Sherburne leads the conference in 3-pt. field goal percentage at 46.9 percent and is averaging 11.2 points per contest.


Lyles (1,047 points, 1,034 at UMBC) and Darley (1,015) both reached the 1,000 point plateau on Sat., Feb. 25 in the regular season finale at UNH.     


Through games of March 12, UMBC was 25th in the nation in scoring average at 81.4 points per game. They are also 22nd nationally with 9.6 three-point field goals made per game and 16th in 3-pt. field goal percentage (40.1 percent).


MORE DOG BYTES:  As of March 12, UMBC was currently the fourth-most improved Division I team in the nation with a 12.0-game improvement (7-25 to 18-12) over a year ago.


Through games of March 12, UMBC was 25th in the nation in scoring average at 81.4 points per game. They are also 22nd nationally with 9.6 three-point field goals made per game and 16th in 3-pt. field goal percentage (40.1 percent).


UMBC has broken a season record for 3-point field goals made in a season. The Retrievers have 287, shattering the mark of 248, which was set in the 2007-08 campaign.


The Retrievers need to score eight points to break their single-season mark of 2,450 points, recorded in the 2007-08 season. UMBC's scoring average of 81.4 points per game is 0.5 behind of the 1991-92 team's school-record mark of 81.9 points per game.


Darley earned his first career league honor, as he was tabbed to the Second Team  as America East announced its all-conference teams and major award winners on Monday.  Junior guard Jairus Lyles joined his teammate, receiving back-to-back  Second Team honors.   


In their first seasons with the Retrievers, junior guard K.J. Maura was named to the league's All-Defensive Team and freshman forward Arkel Lamar earned a spot on the All-Rookie Team.


Sophomore wing Joe Sherburne followed up his recent selection to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team with an America East All-Academic Team accolade.


STAGS' UPDATE: Fairfield will compete in the CIT for the fourth time in the past six seasons, highlighted by an appearance in the semi-finals in 2012.


The Stags enter the tournament with wins in eight of their last 12 games. The Stags placed fifth in the MAAC standings and earned a first-round bye in the conference tournament for the second straight season. Among the team's signature wins in 2016-17 was the program's first-ever win against an ACC team when the Stags edged Boston College in a nationally-televised game on CBS Sports Network.


Junior guard Tyler Nelson has been the top scorer in 15 games by himself and a co-leader three additional times. Nelson leads the team in scoring with a 19.1 scoring average, a number which also ranks second in the MAAC. Graduate forward Amadou Sidibe leads the team in rebounding, with a health average of 9.3 caroms per contest. He places second in the MAAC for rebounding and remains nationally-ranked in the category, placing 40th in Division I.


Fairfield attempts 24.8 treys per game and sinks 8.3, a mark of 33.5 percent. The Stags actually won more games away from home (9-8) than they did in Fairfield (7-6) in 2016-17. The two teams played no common foes this year.


THE SERIES: UMBC and Fairfield have never competed in men's basketball... Ironically, the Retriever women's basketball team hosted Fairfield in the opening round of the 2016 WBI Tournament... The Retrievers are 12-22 against current members of the MAAC... UMBC has faced both Rider and Monmouth 13 times apiece.


AMERICA EAST NOTES: Vermont, which put together an undefeated America East regular season, and won the tournament title, is the No. 13 seed in the Midwest region and will meet No. 4 Purdue in Milwaukee on March 16... America East Tournament runner-up Albany will host St. Peter's in the CIT on Thursday, March 16... Stony Brook will compete in the CBI, travelling to Illinois-Chicago.


UP NEXT: The winner of this evening's game advances to a second-round game to be played March 17-20.