Council Knocks Down Late Game-Winner as Retrievers Edge UAlbany, 65-64, in Overtime

photo by: Gail Burton
photo by: Gail Burton

BALTIMORE – UMBC junior guard Ricky Council (Durham, N.C.) knocked down a right baseline trey – his lone field goal of the game – with 9 seconds left to give the host Retrievers a thrilling 65-64 victory over UAlbany in an America East contest played at the UMBC Event Center.


UAlbany (5-14, 0-4 AE) never trailed in extra time until the game-deciding play. Great Dane forward Devonte Campbell made one of two free throws to give the visitors a 64-62 lead with 16 seconds left. Council, who did not play in overtime until a subsequent time-out was taken by Albany, took a pass from freshman guard Jose Placer (Orlando, Fla.) and fired immediately, knocking down just UMBC's sixth trey of the game.


UAlbany freshman guard Cameron Healy – who led all players with 24 points – came up well short on his game-winning attempt from 26 feet away.


UMBC (11-9, 3-2 AE) was buoyed by the play of Placer, who scored a career-best 22 points, knocking down 8-of-11 from the field. He scored UMBC's first seven points of overtime as the short-handed Retrievers needed another offensive option. Junior guard K.J. Jackson (Houston, Texas) scored 17 points and recorded four steals, but fouled out with 3:26 to play in regulation.


Placer's previous scoring high was 13 points, recording against High Point on Nov. 17.


The Retrievers never led in the second half, falling behind by as many as seven points at 42-35, with 9:14 remaining. A quick 6-0 UMBC surge cut the lead to 42-41, but UAlbany surged back in front, 55-50, after Campbell hit a trey with 2:37 remaining.


A three-point play by Placer with 1:20 remaining, but the deficit to 55-53, but UAlbany got a second possession after a missed field goal attempt on an offensive carom. But UMBC junior forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) knocked away and stole a pass and beat the Danes down the court to convert a layup and knot the game with 15 seconds left.


UAlbany could not get a shot off before the horn went off and the game went to overtime.


Both team's defenses excelled, as the Retrievers held the Danes to just 40.4 percent shooting, while UMBC was a touch above at 42.9 percent.      


The first half was tightly contested with the Great Danes enjoying the largest lead at 13-9 at the 10:54 mark. There were eight lead changes and three ties, but Kendall Lauderdale's jumper with 29 seconds left in the half gave the visitors a 29-26 advantage at the break.


UMBC dressed only 11 players as sophomore forward Brandon Horvath (West River, Md./Southern) was added to the injury list (hand) and was one of four Retrievers forwards/centers to miss the game.


The Retrievers have won two straight versus Albany, after the Danes has reeled off eight in a row in the series. UMBC has won five consecutive games at the UMBC Event Center.


The Retrievers head back to New England for another two-game road swing. UMBC faces Vermont on Wednesday evening and then take on New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon.