Dallas, Texas – UMBC led host SMU for nearly 23 minutes and deep into the second half, but the 2017 American Conference champions prevailed, 78-67, before 6,841 at Moody Coliseum.
Sophomore forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) posted career highs in scoring (23), rebounding (12) and recorded his first career double-double. Graduate student guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) led the Retrievers with 24 points.
SMU has now won 23 straight games at home.
UMBC took its final lead on a layup by junior forward Max Portmann (Wichita Falls, Texas), giving the visitors a 63-61 lead with 5:55 remaining. But after a pair of free throws by SMU, and a missed trey by Lamar, Mustang wing Ben Emelogu buried a trey from the right wing to give the hosts their first lead since 8:42 mark of the first half.
Lyles hit two free throws on the next possession, but Portmann''s layup was the Retrievers' final field goal of the game. The Mustangs closed the game on a 15-4 run.
Senior guard Jourdan Grant (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) added 12 points for UMBC. Preseason American Conference Player of the Year Shake Milton led all scorers with 28 points.
With an amped-up, partisan crowd and President George W. Bush in attendance, the Mustangs sprinted out to a 9-0 lead. But Lyles hit a deep trey at the 15:58 mark to get UMBC on the board and scored nine points in a 14-4 surge that gave the Retrievers their first lead at 14-13 at the 12:27 mark.
The game remained tight, but Lamar scored seven straight points and a Lyles steal, leading to a follow-up bucket by senior guard Jourdan Grant provided the visitors with a half-best 40-30 lead at the 2:48 mark. SMU cut the gap to four points, but a Grant trey with 41 seconds to play in the stanza gave the Retrievers a 45-38 halftime lead.
Lamar wiped out his previous career high of 15 points in the first 17 minutes of play, scoring 18 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor, 3-of-4 from behind the arc and 7-of-8 from the stripe. He ended up tying his career high with four (4-of-8) treys.
Notes: Only eleven Retrievers dressed for the game, as senior guard K.J. Maura, junior forward Sam Schwietz and red-shirt freshman David Park were not in uniform… Maura served the first of a three-game suspension for violation of team rules, while Schwietz and Park are injured... UMBC travels to No. 3 Arizona for a 6:00 contest at Mc Kale Center… The game will mark the second time that UMBC has faced a team ranked No. 3 at the time of the contest. The Retrievers fell at No. 3 Pittsburgh, 91-56, on Dec. 13, 2008.