The UMBC men's basketball team (13-7, 4-1 America East) has matched its best-ever start in 15 America East campaigns and will try to extend the current winning streak to four when the Retrievers face the unenviable task of taking on the Albany Great Danes (15-6, 3-3 AE) at SEFCU Arena. The game takes place on Sunday, Jan. 21, with tip-off time set for 2:00 p.m. and the broadcast airing on ESPN3.
Retriever Update: Graduate student guard Jairus Lyles scored a season-high 35 points and UMBC continued its dominance at home, outlasting Hartford, 78-56, at the RAC Arena on Jan. 15. UMBC has tied its Division I mark with nine consecutive home victories. The 9-0 start at home in one season sets a new school mark.
Lyles leads the Retrievers and America East in scoring (20.9 points per game) and is also in the top ten in seven other America East statistical categories.
Sophomore forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) (13.4 ppg, team high 7.0 rpg) is one of three other players averaging double figures. Senior guard K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.) (10.9 ppg) leads the conference with 5.3 helpers per game, while steady junior forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) averages 10.7 points per contest.
The aforementioned foursome are all shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range and all rank in the top seven of marksmen in the conference.
UMBC leads the league, averaging 77.1 points per game and the Retrievers are converting 12.0 treys per game, second in the nation through games of Jan. 18. They are first nationally with 239 total 3-pt. field goals made.
A Glance at the Great Danes: After dropping its first two league games, UAlbany has won three of four and is 10-1 at home in 2017-18. The Great Danes bounced back from a 79-66 at Binghamton on Monday and defeated scrappy UMass Lowell, 70-62, at SEFCU Arena on Thursday. Junior guard Joe Cremo led four Danes in double figures with 23 points.
Cremo leads the squad and is fourth in the league at 17.8 points per game. He is the league's top 3-point marksman, knocking down 51.0 percent (50-of-98) of this shots from behind the arc. Senior forward Travis Charles scores 15.1 points per game, while junior guard David Nichols is right behind at 14.7 points per game.
Albany averages 76.2 points per contest, good for third in the America East. They are second in the conference in rebounding margin (+6.8) and free throw percentage (75.8 percent), trailing just UNH in both categories.
The Series: Albany has won seven consecutive games in the series and leads, 24-7, overall. UMBC's last win occurred at the RAC Arena in February of 2014 and the last win at SEFCU took place on March 8, 2009, as the Retrievers triumphed, 64-58, in the America East semi-finals.
Last season, the Great Danes cruised to a 77-50 win in Baltimore in January, then captured a 78=69 triumph in Albany a month later.
Other Notes: Prior to facing Maryland, the Retrievers were allowing 76.6 points per game and foes were shooting 47.0 percent from the field… In the recent 5-2 surge, UMBC has allowed only 61.4 points per game and have held five of seven teams under 40 percent shooting… They are second in America East on defense, allowing 64.6 ppg in league games… The 2007-08 squad also started at 4-1 en route to a 13-3 league campaign and an eventual league title... UMBC has never been 5-1 through six games in AE play... UMBC has matched its 13-7 record through 20 games from a year ago... Prior to this season, UMBC had only four 20+ pt. margins of victory over AE foes... They posted back-to-back wins of 20+ at UML (27) and vs. Hartford (22)... The largest was a +29 (79-50) at UNH in 2010.
Up Next: UMBC returns home for a pair of games next week, as the Retrievers host Binghamton on Wednesday, Jan. 24 (7:00 p.m.) and then welcome Maine on Saturday, Jan. 27 (1:00 p.m,)