The UMBC men's basketball squad (7-7) concludes the 2018 portion of the schedule on Monday, Dec. 31, when they host Centenary (N.J.) at UMBC Event Center. Tip-time is slated for 1:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+, with Gary Stein, John Feinstein and Paul Mittermeier on the call. Tickets are available at https://bit.ly/2EV4Vyr.
A Glance at the Retrievers: Defending NIT champion Penn State (7-6) broke open a tight game with a late first half run and defeated visiting UMBC (7-7), 74-52, before over 9,000 fans at Bryce Jordan Center on Dec. 29.
Graduate student forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) led the Retrievers with 16 points. The Lions entered game shooting 32.2 percent from three, but knocked down 10-of-21 shots for the game.
UMBC currently leads America East in defense, allowing 66.8 points per game. The Retrievers are also first in turnover margin (3.7) and steals (7.9).
Sherburne leads a balanced UMBC attack with 14.1 points per game and has scored in double figures in eight consecutive games. Junior guard K.J. Jackson (Houston, Texas) averages 11.4 points per game, while sophomore forward Brandon Horvath (West River, Md./Southern) checks in at 10.9 points per contest.
A Glance at the Cyclones: After opening the season at 1-9, Centenary (N.J.) won two straight before competing at Medgar-Evers on Sunday evening.
Sophomore guard LaBelle leads the Cyclones at 17.1 points per game and also leads his squad in treys (27) and assists (58, 4.8 per game). Freshman forward Billy Veras (10.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and sophomore frontcourt mate Larry Joseph (10.5 ppg, team-high 7.5 rpg) are the other prime contributors to the Cyclone attack.
LaBelle had a season-high 26 points and six assists in Saturday's win over New Rochelle in the Medgar Evers Tournament.
The game versus UMBC - an exhibition for Centenary - is their third contest in 72 hours.
Series Record/Last Meeting: Exactly one year ago today, in the first meeting between Retrievers and Cyclones, UMBC (9-6) also concluded its non-conference season. The Retrievers knocked down 17 of 34 treys and defeating Centenary (N.J.), 85-41, at the RAC Arena.
Leading 41-24 at the break, the Retrievers opened the second half on a 16-2 run over a span of 5:31 to put the game away.
Then-freshman guard Chris LaBelle led the Cyclones with 16 points.
Up Next: UMBC opens defense of its 2018 America East title on Saturday, Jan. 5, when they host the Maine Black Bears. Tip time at the UMBC Event Center is slated for 1:00 p.m. and tickets are available at https://bit.ly/2VfRG17.