BALTIMORE – After playing three times in four days in the Bimini Jam, UMBC (4-2) returns home to face a vastly improved American University (2-1) squad on Saturday, Nov. 24. Tip-off time at the UMBC Event Center 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 headsets.
Retriever Review: UMBC could not pull off the "hat-trick" on the magnificent island of Bimini (Bahamas), falling to South Dakota, 58-52, in the final contest of the inaugural Bimini Jam. The Retrievers won the first two games, 77-72, in double overtime over Air Force and 68-59 versus High Point.
UMBC was declared the tournament championships with a 2-1 record and a head-to-head win over 2-1 High Point.
Despite the recent setback, junior forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, while sophomore forward Brandon Horvath (West River, Md./Southern) joined him on the All-Tournament Team. Lamar averaged 11.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the three-game set, and Horvath averaged 9.3 points and 6.7 rebounds.
The loss halted a four-game winning streak for UMBC.
Through six games, graduate student forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) leads four Retrievers averaging double figures with 12.8 points per game. Horvath and Lamar average 10.8 and 10.7 ppg respectively, while junior guard K.J. Jackson (Houston, Texas) checks in at 10.5 in the scoring column. Horvath also leads a balanced rebounding effort with 6.8 caroms per outing.
A Glance at the Eagles: Junior guard Sa'eed Nelson led the American University men's basketball team to a 24-point win over New Hampshire, 68-44, in the home opener back on Nov. 16. AU opened the season with a 78-75 overtime win at George Mason, before suffering a competitive 63-51 setback at Big Ten member Northwestern.
American returns all five starters from a young squad that produced a 6-24 record last year. Nelson, who has already surpassed the 1,000-point mark in just over two campaigns, is averaging 16.0 points per game through three games in 2018-19. Junior post Mark Gasperini checks in at 11.7 points per game, while sophomore forward Sam Iorio averages 10.3 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds per outing.
All-Time Series: UMBC and American have not met since the 2013-14 season. The two sides have waged some spirited battles in seven consecutive campaigns (2007-2014). The Eagles have won five of those seven, including the last four and lead the all-time series, 6-3.
The last two contests have both gone to overtime, with AU prevailing, 73-70, in 2OT at UMBC on Dec. 6, 2012, and 63-61, in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14, 2014.
Dawg Bytes: With the win over High Point, Head Coach Ryan Odom earned victory No. 50 (50-26) in his brief two-plus year tenure and is "fastest to 50" in school history by a resounding 40 games. Randy Monroe reached victory No. 50 in his 115th game behind the Retriever bench in his fourth season (2006-07).
The four-game winning streak matched the second-longest for the Retrievers under Ryan Odom. UMBC got out to a 4-0 start to his tenure in 2016-17, then won six straight, capped by the NCAA Tournament win over Virginia in 2017-18.
UMBC's streak of not allowing an opponent to top the 70-point mark ended at seven consecutive games, but it took Air Force 50 minutes to record 72 points. The game was knotted at 62-all after 40 minutes of play. Hence, the Retrievers have not permitted 70 or more points over a 40-minute span in 11 straight contests.
Sherburne's passed two players on UMBC's all-time scoring list by virtue of a team season-high 24 points effort vs. Air Force. He sits in 15th place with 1,168 points. UMBC Hall of Famer Jay Greene is currently in 14th position with 1,186 points.
The Retrievers have outscored their first five opponents by a total of 53 points in the second halves of games this season.
Up Next: UMBC makes a trip to Northern Kentucky for a 7:00 p.m. game with the Norse on Friday, Nov. 30. NKU is currently 6-0 prior to games versus Central Florida (Nov. 24) and Morehead State (Nov. 27). The Retrievers won a 76-75 thriller over NKU at the RAC Arena on Dec. 17 of last season.