The UMBC Retrievers (18-9, 9-3 America East) open a three-game homestand and play for the second time at the UMBC Event Center on Sunday, Feb. 18 when they face the Albany Great Danes (20-8, 8-5). Tip-off time is slated for 1:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3 with Gary Stein, John Feinstein and Paul Mittermeier on the call.
Retriever Update: UMBC erased a halftime deficit to come away with a 68-59 victory at New Hampshire on Sunday. Graduate student guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) scored 13 of his team best 18 points in the second half and senior guard Joudan Grant added a season-high 16 points in the win.
The victory moved the Retrievers to 8-2 over the last ten games and snapped a six-game slide in Durham, N.H.
Lyles just became the first player in school history to record a pair of 500-point seasons. He just reached the 1,600-point plateau in his collegiate career and is slated to compete in career game No. 100 vs. Albany. The graduate student paces 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. He is xxth nationally in points per game.
Senior guard K.J. Maura (10.0 ppg) leads the conference with 5.3 helpers per game and is ranked 23rd nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.93). Sophomore forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) (11.7 ppg) and junior forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) (10.3 ppg) also average in double figures. Sherburne is three points shy of becoming the 23 rd player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
Under head coach Ryan Odom, UMBC has posted back-to-back double-digit win seasons for the first time since the 2007-08 and 2008-09 campaigns. The 39 wins over the last two seasons equals the program's best two-year DI total of 39, reached in the aforementioned seasons.
The Retrievers have matched last year's best total of games over .500 at +9. UMBC was both 16-7 and 21-12 a season ago and currently stand at 18-9.
UMBC's current total of 18 wins have already tied the fifth-best total wins in 32 years of NCAA Division I competition. The 2000-01 squad finished that campaign at 18-11.
The nine America East victories ties last year's total and is the second-most in 15 seasons of league play. The 2007-08 title team posted a 13-3 record.
A Glance at the Great Danes: After starting league play at 0-2, the Great Danes have won eight of 11 and can clinch a top-four seed in the America East playoffs with a victory today. Today's game is the third straight road affair for Albany and they have won the two previous contests, 69-63, at Hartford (Feb. 11) and 91-81 at UMass Lowell (Feb. 15).
Three Great Danes average in double figures, led by junior guard Joe Cremo, who is fourth in America East at 17.3 points per game. He also leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage at 45.9 percent. Backcourt mate and classmate David Nichols, who led all scorers with 25 points at UML, has heated up of late and now averages 15.2 points per game, while graduate student forward Travis Charles, who scored 21 points vs. UMBC in mid-January, averages 14.9 points per contest.
Albany averages 74.8 points per game, buoyed by 75.5 percent free throw shooting. They also enjoy a +6.4 rebound margin over their foes.
The Series: Albany has won eight consecutive games in the series and leads, 25-7, overall. UMBC's last win occurred at the RAC Arena in February of 2014. The Great Danes are 10-4 all-time in Baltimore.
Up Next: UMBC continues its three-game homestand when they welcome Stony Brook on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Tip-off time at the UMBC Event Center is set for 7:00 p.m.