Burlington, Vt.— The Catamounts used a hot shooting first half and 36 points in the paint to defeat the Retrievers, 71-56 on Saturday night. Senior K.J. Maura (San Juan, Puerto Rico) paced the Retriever offense with 20 points, one point off a season high in the loss adding three assists.
The loss drops UMBC to 10-7, 1-1 AE, snapping a two-game winning streak, while Vermont wins their fourth straight to improve to 11-5, 2-0 AE.
Sophomore Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) was the only other Retriever in double figures, pouring in 15 points on 5-9 shooting from three. He added six rebounds and three assists for UMBC.
Vermont had three score in double figures, led by Payton Henson with 14. Henson added 13 boards for a double-double, as Trae Bell-Haynes (13 pts) and Ernie Duncan (12 pts) hits double digits. The Catamounts outscored UMBC 36-12 in the paint.
The Catamounts came out of the gates firing, making five of their first seven shots. The Retrievers would respond, cutting the deficit to one multiple times early, but each time Vermont had the answer. Maura and Lamar kept the Retrievers close in the early going, with Maura scoring ten of his 20 in the first ten minutes.
Vermont used a 10-0 run late in the first half to take the lead, a lead they never relinquished. The spurt put them up 11 late in the half, before a Max Portmann (Wichita Falls, Texas) layup ended the run with the Catamounts up 44-31 at the break.
Maura had 16 points in the opening 20 minutes with Lamar chipping in nine. The Catamounts shot a blistering 60 percent from the floor in the opening half, outscoring UMBC 24-6 in the paint.
The Retriever defense stood tall early in the second half, holding Vermont scoreless over the first five minutes. However, UMBC could not capitalize on chances early as Vermont kept their lead in double digits. UMBC put together a run to cut it to single digits after a Portmann jumper and a Jourdan Grant (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) three cut it to eight.
UVM would put the game away with a Bell-Haynes and one and Duncan triple to extend their lead to 17. UMBC made a push late, getting a pair of three's from Lamar, but the Catamounts held on for a 71-56 victory.
UMBC continues their three-game road swing at Maine on Wednesday night. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. on ESPN 3.