The UMBC men's basketball team (4-3) opens a season-long three-game road swing when they take on mid-major power Northern Kentucky (7-1) at BB&T Arena on Friday, Nov. 30. Tip-off time is set for 7:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+ with Brady Laber and Brad Redford on the call.
Retriever Review: American sophomore forward Sam Iorio's trey with 1.8 seconds remaining broke a 69-all tie and propelled the visiting Eagles to a 73-69 victory over UMBC at the UMBC Event Center. The Eagles improved to 3-1, while UMBC slipped to 4-3. UMBC junior forward Max Curran (Hooksett, N.H.) led four Retrievers in double figures with a season-high 20 points.
The Retrievers led by as many as ten points in the second half, but American converted 16 of their final 24 shots from the floor, including five consecutive treys, to spearhead the rally.
The win by American halted a five-game home winning streak, but UMBC is still 30-8 at home under Head Coach Ryan Odom. The current two-game slide is UMBC's first since falling at SMU and Arizona to open the 2017-18 season.
UMBC presents a balanced attack with four players averaging double figures and a fifth – junior guard K.J. Jackson (Houston, Texas), averaging 9.9 points per game. Graduate student forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) led the way at 12.6 points per game, while reserve sophomore forward Brandon Horvath (West River, Md./Southen) contributes 11.3 points and a team-best 7.0 caroms per game.
Despite the 73 points allowed, UMBC is still ranked 25th in the country in scoring defense, allowing 60.1 points per game. The Retrievers are also 20th in the nation with 18.1 caused turnovers per game.
Notable: 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. But American tallied 73, thus halting the streak of 70 or less in 40 minutes at 11.
Jackson has recorded 16 steals in last four games and is currently ranked 18th (tied) in the nation with 2.57 thefts per game. He is also ranked seventh (Nov. 27) in total steals and 39th in total assists (35) and leads America East in those categories.
Sherburne – a 2018 First Team Academic All-American - remains in seventh place in UMBC's record book with 221 treys, but just one behind Brian Hodges ('08) for sixth place. With 1,179 points, he is also eight points away from moving into 14th position on the school's all-time scoring list. Among current active NCAA DI players, Sherburne is tied for 20th in treys made and 23rd (tied) in games played (109).
A Glance at the Norse: Last season's regular season Horizon League regular season champions are off to their best-ever start at 7-1. The Norse return two starters from a 22-10 squad (15-3 HL) from a year ago and were picked to finish second behind Wright State in the league's preseason poll.
Senior post Drew McDonald was just named to the Lou Henson Award preseason Watch List. McDonald, who averaged 17.0 ppg and 9.6 rpg a year ago, is off to a tremendous start, checking in at 18.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per contest.
After a 6-0 start, NKU fell at Central Florida, 66-53, on Nov. 24, but rebounded with a 93-71 win at state rival Morehead State on Nov. 27. McDonald posted a triple-double with 12 points, 15 caroms and 11 helpers. Junior guard Tyler Sharpe (13.4 ppg) led all scorers with 28 points as the Norse shot a blistering 62.7 percent from the floor.
The two teams have one common opponent and both have home wins over Manhattan. UMBC defeated the Jaspers, 75-52, on Nov. 12, while the Norse triumphed, 59-53, five days later.
Last Year's Meeting: Jairus Lyles scored 31 points, including the Retrievers' final 11 points of the game as UMBC (8-5) edged visiting Northern Kentucky (7-4), 76-75, on December 17 in the first meeting between a pair of rising mid-majors.
Known for their prolific offense, the Retrievers used some stingy defense down the stretch to secure the win. UMBC got stops on six of NKU's final eight possessions, including securing the rebound of Norse guard Lavone Holland came up just short a driving layup with three seconds remaining.
The game featured 13 lead changes and 12 ties and the largest lead was a six-point advantage by NKU in the first half.
The Norse took their final lead at 72-70 on a layup by Jordan Garnett with 5:15 remaining. But Lyles converted a driving layup on the right side to knot the score, and after an NKU turnover, he drew a foul on Holland and converted a pair to give the Retrievers a 74-72 lead with 3:17 remaining. NKU's Drew McDonald knocked down a short jumper with 1:54 to play to re-tie the contest, but Lyles countered with a lean-up jumper just 22 seconds later.
Holland missed one of two free throws for the visitors with 1:19 to play. The Retrievers misfired on two treys, sandwiched around an NKU missed jumper to set up the final sequence.
Joe Sherburne added 11 points, knocking down 3-of-5 from behind the arc.
McDonald posted a double-double with 24 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for the visitors.
Up Next: UMBC returns to Baltimore and face local rival Coppin State on Monday, Dec. 3. Tip-off time on the Eagles' campus is set for 7:00 p.m.