BALTIMORE – UMBC graduate student guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) hit a pair of free throws with 12.7 seconds remaining to propel the Retrievers an 89-88 thrilling victory over Nicholls in the final game of the Battle 4 Atlantis Mainland Tournament, held at the RAC Arena.
Both teams are now 3-3 on the campaign.
Nicholls' senior guard Lafayette Rutledge hit his tenth and final trey of the game with 2:53 remaining to give the visitors a 84-83 lead. After another Colonel field goal, UMBC junior forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) tied the score at 86-all with a trey from the top of the key. After a field goal by NSU guard Roddy Peters, Retriever forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) made one of two free throws to trim the deficit to 88-87 with 41.2 seconds remaining.
On Nichols' possession, guard Kevin Johnson misfired, but teammate Daniel Regis grabbed initial control of the carom. But Lyles managed to steal the ball and, as he turned to spring upcourt, Regis fouled the Retriever guard. Lyles sank the two attempts and Nicholls advanced the ball into the frontcourt before calling timeout with 7.4 seconds left.
Lyles deflected the inbounds pass, but it went right to Peters, who had a great look from 24 feet out. But the ball hit the back of the iron and Lyles skied over the bigs to haul in the rebound as the horn sounded.
Lyles led six Retrievers in double figures. He scored 14 of his team-high 18 points in the second half, including seven in the final 4:50. Sherburne capped off a stellar two-day run with 16 points, hitting 6-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-4 from behind the arc. Senior guard K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.) scored 16 points and added four assists. Lamar tallied 13 points, while senior guard Jourdan Grant (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) added 12 and sophomore forward Max Curran (Hooksett, N.H.) contributed 10.
Rutledge led all scorers with 30 points, getting all of his markers from behind the arc. He tied a RAC Arena record, set by UMBC's Will Darley in February, who knocked down 10 versus UMass Lowell.
The first half was marked by two similar runs. Nicholls made the first, scoring 14 consecutive points to open up a 21-9 advantage at the 12:13 mark of the first half. The Colonels hit nine of their first 11 shots from the floor and UMBC misfired on five of their first six attempts from beyond the arc. But the Retrievers countered with a 18-3 surge holding the Colonels scores for 5:16 and grabbing a 37-32 advantage late in the stanza. UMBC could not take full advantage of 13 Nicholls' fouls, missing six of 18 free throw attempts, but led, 40-35, at the break.
UMBC quickly got out to a nine-point advantage early in the second half, but the Colonels would hit 9-of-10 treys over a seven-minutes span to erase the deficit and take a 65-62 advantage with 11:16 remaining. Nicholls led by as many as six points at 81-75, with 5:22 to play before back-to-back 3-point efforts by Lyles and Maura.
Both teams shot over 50 percent from the floor and over 44 percent from 3-point range. UMBC hit 19-of-32 second half shots and finished at 52.5 percent (31-of-59) for the game. They buried 10 (of 21) treys, and have now converted 63 over their last five outings. Nicholls converted 34-of-65 shots, including 15 of their first 23 in the second half, but misfired on nine of their last 14 tries.
Notes: Lyles became the 13 th Retriever to reach the 1,200 plateau, with 1,202 points, in just 63 career outings in the black and gold… UMBC hosts Shenandoah on Monday, Nov 27, with a special noon start time on the slate.