Men's Basketball Closes Non-Conference Slate vs. Centenary at Home on Sunday Afternoon

photo by: Gail Burton
photo by: Gail Burton

Centenary at UMBC Game Notes 

The UMBC men's basketball team (8-6) hopes to end the non-conference slate on a winning note and extend its home court perfection this season when the Retrievers host Centenary (N.J.) University (2-7) at the RAC Arena on Sunday, Dec. 31 at 1:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 with Troy Green, John Feinstein and Graham Whaples (sideline) on the call.


Retriever Update: UMBC held a 24-18 halftime lead at Maryland, but struggled to knock down shots throughout the contest and fell to the Terrapins, 66-45, before an announced crowd of over 14,000 at XFinity Center. For the time in UMBC's basketball history, the Retrievers did not convert a free throw, missing the lone attempt. The one attempt was also a first-time occurrence.


The Retrievers, entering the contest as the nation's leading in treys made per game (12.4), made a season-low 7 threes in 38 attempts.


UMBC allowed the second-fewest points in a half under Coach Odom, missing the mark by just one, as Hood tallied 17 points in the first game in 2016-17.


Graduate student guard Jairus Lyles posted his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Lyles was named America East Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for games ending December 17. He averaged 29.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in leading UMBC to home victories over Coppin State and Northern Kentucky.


He leads America East in scoring (21.1 points per game) and steals (2.3 per game) and is ranked 32nd nationally in scoring and tied for 24th in steals.


Sophomore forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) (13.6 ppg, team high 6.9 rpg) junior forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) (10.9 ppg) and senior guard K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.) (10.5 ppg) also average in double figures. Maura, who scored 12 points at Maryland, is ranked 39th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.77) and 44th in assists per game (5.5).


UMBC is averaging 78.8 points per game and the Retrievers are converting 12.0 treys per game, still third-best in the nation through games of Dec. 29.  They are tied for second with 168 total 3-pt. field goals made.


UMBC has won 11 of 12 at the RAC Arena, dating back to last season.


A Glance at the Cyclones: Centenary University is located in Hackettstown, N.J. and has a student enrollment of 1,708. The Cyclones compete in the NCAA Division III Colonial States Athletic Conference. They compiled a record of 12-14 a year ago, including a record of 8-10 in league play.


This season, Centenary is 2-7 under new head coach Damian Pitts. They have not played since Dec. 11, when they dropped a 72-59 decision at Rutgers-Newark. Two days earlier, the Cyclones defeated FDU-Florham, 79-73. They average 64.2 points per game and allow 73.9 points per contest.


Senior guard Rashaan Spencer leads his squad, scoring 21.0 points per game. He tallied 32 points vs. Rutgers-Newark in the most recent contest. Spencer is a two-time All-CSAC Second Team selection, after earning Rookie of the Year honors in 2014-15.


Up Next: UMBC opens its 15th America East Conference season on Wednesday, Jan. 3, when they host the New Hampshire Wildcats. Tip-off time at the RAC Arena is set for 7:00 p.m. UNH won two of three meetings versus the Retrievers a year ago. Both regular season games went to double overtime, with the home team claiming victory, but UNH prevailed in the America East quarterfinals in Durham.