Men's Basketball Begins New England Journey at AE-Leading Vermont on Wednesday Night

photo by: Brian Jenkins
photo by: Brian Jenkins

UMBC at Vermont Game Notes 

The UMBC men's basketball squad (11-9, 3-2 America East) heads out to upper New England for a pair of games before the spring semester begins at UMBC next week. The Retrievers being the journey when they face America East-leading Vermont (15-4, 5-0 AE) on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at Patrick Gymnasium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.


UMBC then travels to Durham, N.H., to take on UNH on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. before a home game on January 30 versus Stony Brook ends the first half of league play for the Retrievers.    


A Glance at the Retrievers: 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 on Saturday. The Retrievers won both home games in league play last week and have won six straight at their new home.  


UMBC was buoyed by the play of freshman guard José Placer (Orlando, Fla.), 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 earned America East Conference Rookie of the Week honors, UMBC's first league accolade of the season.


UMBC dressed only 11 players – a season low – versus UAlbany Sophomore center Daniel Akin (London, England) underwent successful surgery on Thursday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and will miss the rest of the 2018-19 campaign. Senior post Max Portmann (Wichita Falls, Texas) has not competed this season and junior forward Max Curran (Hooksett, N.H.) missed his eight straight game due to a hand injury. Sophomore center Brandon Horvath – UMBC's second leading scorer at 10.9 points per game – did not dress on Saturday after suffering a hand injury versus Binghamton.


Graduate student forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) leads the Retrievers in scoring at 14.1 points per game and snared 18 rebounds in the team's two victories last week.


UMBC currently leads America East in defense, allowing 64.4 points per game (30th nationally). The Retrievers are also first in turnover margin (4.0, 20th nationally) and steals (8.5, 28th nationally). They are 10th in the nation in total steals (169) and 20th in turnover margin (+4.0).


A Glance at the Catamounts:  Vermont (15-4, 5-0 America East) has won six straight, 12 of its last 13 contests and six in a row at home. They are 8-1 at Patrick Gym with the lone setback coming at the hands of Bucknell, 69-61, in late November.


Junior forward Anthony Lamb is leading the conference in scoring at 20.6 points per game and the team in rebounding with 7.5 per contest. Senior guard Ernie Duncan checks in at 13.6 points per outing, while sophomore guard Stef Smith averages 12.7 ppg. All three have netted over 30 treys on the season.


Vermont averages 76.3 points per game and allows 65.9. They have won all five league games by an average of 22.8 points per victory.


The Catmounts raced out to a 36-14 halftime lead over Binghamton on Saturday and cruised to a 78-50 triumph. Duncan led all scorers with 20 points.    


Series Record/Last Meetings: UMBC snapped a 23-game losing streak to Vermont in the monumental 65-62 victory over the Catamounts in last season's America East Conference title game at Patrick Gymnasium.


The Catamounts had won earlier meetings, 71-56, in Burlington in January and 81-53, in the first-ever game at the UMBC Event Center on February 3.  


Vermont holds a prohibitive 32-5 overall series lead and 19-2 in games played at Patrick Gymnasium.


Two of UMBC's five wins have come in post-season play and three occurred in the 2007-08 season, UMBC's first America East title campaign.