Men's Basketball Opens Two-Game Northern Swing at Hartford on Wednesday

photo by:Ian Feldmann
photo by:Ian Feldmann

The UMBC men's basketball squad (9-7, 1-0) embarks on a week-long America East road swing, which opens against the Hartford Hawks (7-8) at Chase Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 9. Tip-time is slated for 7:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+. The Retrievers stay in New England and will face UMass Lowell on Saturday evening.  


A Glance at the Retrievers: UMBC (9-7, 1-0) used its 2018-19 formula for success – stout defense and second-proficiency- to outlast visiting Maine (2-14, 0-1), 61-52, in the league opener for both teams at the UMBC Event Center on Jan. 5.


The Retrievers held the Black Bears scoreless over the final 5:44 and outscored the visitors, 42-21, in the final 20 minutes to overcome a 13-point second half deficit and earn the victory.


Sophomore forward Brandon Horvath (West River, Md./Southern) scored 13 points, while sophomore F/C Daniel Akin (London, England) put up a career-high 12 points and added 8 caroms.  


With 10 points, graduate student forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) scored in double figures for the tenth consecutive game and leads a balanced attack at 14.1 points per contest. Horvath checks in at 11.8 points per game, while junior guard K.J. Jackson (Houston, Texas) averages 11.1 points per game and leads the team in assists (66) and steals (35).


UMBC currently leads America East in defense, allowing 64.7 points per game. The Retrievers are also first in turnover margin (4.3) and steals (8.6). The Retrievers have outscored their opponents by 126 points in the second half through 16 games this season.


A Glance at the Hawks: Hartford (7-8) will open America East play this evening and come into the game having won four of their last five games. The senior-laden Hawks –selected to finish second by league coaches in the pre-season poll - have captured four of their five homes this season.


Most recently, Hartford pulled off a 79-78 overtime victory at Boston College on Dec. 31.  The senior backcourt of J.R. Lynch (26) and Jason Dunne (23) combined for 49 points. Hartford forced 19 Eagle turnovers and outscored their hosts, 22-9, in points off turnovers.


Senior forward John Carroll leads UH in scoring at 15.9 points per game, followed closely by Dunne and Lynch at 15.3 points per outing. The Hawks' starting five averages over 90 percent of the team's robust 74.0 points per game.


Hartford allows 74.9 points per game and its field goal defense is at 46.1 percent, but just 31.8 percent behind the arc.


Series Record/Last Meeting:  The Hawks hold a 17-16 overall lead in the series, but UMBC won all three meetings a season ago and four of the last five overall after a five-game winning streak by Hartford. The Retrievers triumphed in three different venues last season - 78-56, at the RAC Arena in January, 62-53, at Chase Family Arena in February and 75-60 at the UMBC Event Center in the America East semifinals in March.


In that game, UMBC led, 32-25, at halftime, and, after Hartford scored the second half's first basket, Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) connected on a trey, starting a 9-0 run. K.J. Maura knocked down three field goals to ignite the crowd and give the Retrievers a 41-27 advantage at the 16:55 mark and Hartford would be unable to trim the deficit to single digits the rest of the way. 

The Retrievers have won two straight in West Hartford after dropping five in a row. The Hawks have captured 10 of 15 meetings on their home court in the series.