The UMBC men's basketball team hopes to bring its recent road success back to the UMBC Event Center, as the Retrievers host local rival Towson on Tuesday, Dec. 11. Tip-off time in the 59th meeting between the Baltimore Beltway combatants is slated for 7:00 p.m., with Gary Stein, John Feinstein and Paul Mittermeier describing all the action on ESPN+.
Tickets are still available at https://bit.ly/2QIal63.
Retriever Review: Junior guard K.J. Jackson (Houston, Texas) scored 27 of his career high 31 points in the final 20 minutes as the visiting Retrievers rallied to knock off Drexel, 91-76, at the Daskalakis Athletic Center on Dec. 8. UMBC (6-4) won its second straight game on the road during the week and improved to 6-4 on the season. The Retrievers finished at a season-best 60.3 percent (35-of-56) from the floor overall and made 10-of-23 treys and 11-of-13 free throws.
Graduate student forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) leads a balanced UMBC attack with 13.9 points per game and leads America East in shooting at 55.1 percent from the floor. Three other Retrievers average in double figures, including Jackson (11.5 ppg), who is ranked 21st in the nation with 2.5 steals per game.
A Glance at the Tigers: Towson has dropped three straight since knocking off local rival, Loyola-Maryland, 85-69, on Nov. 25. The last three Tiger setbacks (Vermont, GW, Morgan State) have come by a total of 15 points. They are 0-6 away from SECU Arena so far this season.
Towson is led by junior forward Brian Fobbs, who is averaging 14.7 points per game. He also leads the Tigers in treys (18) and is converting 40 percent from behind the arc. Junior guard Tobias Howard also averages in double figures at 10.8 points per contest and leads the squad with 29 assists.
Ten Tigers average at least ten minutes played per game. The squad has a +3.7 rebound margin, but a -2.7 turnover margin.
All-Time Series: Towson has taken the last five meetings and leads the all-time series by a 38-20 margin. It is the longest winning streak for the Tigers over the Retrievers at the NCAA Division I (1986-87 level). UMBC won nine straight from 1998-2004. The Retrievers' last win occurred on Dec. 1 2012, a 66-62 triumph at the RAC Arena.
Last season, on Dec. 9, UMBC took a brief second half lead, but could not overcome poor shooting throughout and fell, 78-65, to Towson at SECU Arena.
Jairus Lyles led all scorers with 21 points and he added a team-high eight rebounds. Junior forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) scored in double figures for the 11th consecutive game with 10 points, all scored in the second half. But UMBC converted a season-low 20 field goals and shot a season-low 29.0 percent, hindering their chances for a road win.
A Few More Retriever Notes: With 31 points, Jackson posted UMBC's first 30-point game of the season, scoring a school-record 27 second half points in the 91-76 win at Drexel on Dec. 8. Jackson's hit 11-of-13 field goal attempts in the second half and his 13 field goals (13-of-17) in a game is now ninth (tied) on UMBC's all-time list.
UMBC shot 60 percent from the floor (60.3 vs. Drexel, Dec. 8) for the first time in 90 games under Ryan Odom. The last time a Retriever team hit that plateau was on Feb. 6, 2016 vs. Maine (33/55, 60 percent) in a 83-79 victory.
UMBC has also won three of six this season when trailing at the half and are a solid 9-10 over the last two seasons when behind at intermission.
UMBC outscored Coppin State and Drexel by combined 36 points in the second halves and are a +60 after intermission this season. The Retrievers made 37-of-57 (64.9%) in the second halves of those victories.
Up Next: UMBC hosts Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday, December 16. Special tip-off time is slated for 7:00 p.m., as another Baltimore team hosts a Florida squad (Ravens vs. Bucs) earlier that day. Tickets are available at https://bit.ly/2Gd0pNV.