Lyles, Lamar Spark Offense, Maura Leads Defense as Men's Basketball Rallies to Edge UNH, 71-67

Lyles, Lamar Spark Offense, Maura Leads Defense as Men's Basketball Rallies to Edge UNH, 71-67

BALTIMORE – Graduate student guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) scored 27 points, as UMBC rallied from an eight-point second half deficit to edge New Hampshire, 71-67, in the opener of America East Conference play for both squads.

UMBC (10-6) has won all eight home games this season and nine of its last 12 overall. New Hampshire fell to 4-11 with the tough loss.

Retriever sophomore forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) continued his excellent play versus UNH, posting fourth double-double of the season with 20 points and ten rebounds.

The Retrievers trailed, 48-40, with 13:25 remaining, but used pressure defense to spark a 17-4 surge over the next six minutes. Lyles gave UMBC its first lead since a 23-22 advantage at the 8:53 mark of the first half with an and-one at the 7:58 mark, then senior guard Jourdan Grant's (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) steal and lay-up pushed the lead to 57-52 just 15 seconds later.

The Wildcats fought back to garner ties at 57 and 59-all, when Lamar produced the biggest segment of the game. He came up with an offensive rebound off a missed UMBC free throw, took the ball to the left corner and drilled a 3-pointer.

UMBC built the lead to 65-59 on a free throw by freshman post Daniel Akin (Eltham, England) and another driving bucket by Lyles with 2:24 remaining. UNH cut the deficit to four points four times in the final 2:06, but the Retrievers made their final four free throws to seal the win.

UMBC senior guard K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.) tied a UMBC Division I record with seven steals in the game and added 11 points. The Retrievers forced 18 UNH miscues with 13 steals, a season high, and outscored the Wildcats, 17-9, off turnovers.

UNH senior post Tanner Leissner led his side, posting a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Jordan Reed, who knocked down his first four treys and finished 5-of-7, scored 15 points, but left the game due to an leg injury with 9:11 remaining.   

The early stages of the first half featured deadly early shooting by both teams, especially from the visitors from behind the arc. With the game knotted at 23-all, the Wildcats had already buried 7-of-10 treys and then converted their next two to open an 8-0 run and a 31-23 lead at the 5:22 mark of the stanza. UMBC missed its final three field goal attempts of the half and went into the locker room trailing for just the fourth time in 16 games at 36-31.

Lamar made all five of his first half field goal attempts, scoring 12 points and adding 5 rebounds. But he was matched in scoring by Reed, who knocked down his first four attempts from beyond the arc.

Lamar knocked down all four of his shots from beyond the arc and is now 42-of-87 (48.3 percent) on the season. Lyles struggled from distance (1/7), but hit 9-of-18 shots overall, 8-of-9 free throws and added eight caroms, five assists and four steals.

UMBC opens a three-game America East road swing at defending champion Vermont on Saturday.  

Notes: Head Coach Ryan Odom coached his 100th collegiate game and garnered victory No. 60… He is 31-19 after 50 games at UMBC… Lamar averaged 11.3 points per game and shot 52 percent in three games vs. UNH a season ago, which compared favorably with his 4.4 ppg and 35.8 shooting in all 2016-17 America East games.