The UMBC men's basketball squad (14-9, 6-2 America East) opens the second half of America East action on Wednesday, Feb. 6 when the explosive Hartford Hawks (11-12, 4-4) visit the UMBC Event Center. Tip off time is 7:00 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/2RGUcdr.
A Glance at the Retrievers: UMBC has won a season-high five consecutive games and is tied with Stony Brook for second place in the America East Conference, one game behind Vermont (7-1). The Retrievers are coming off their bye and have not played since last Wednesday's 57-49 victory over Stony Brook. Graduate student forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) posted his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds to pace the Retrievers.
Sherburne leads the Retrievers in scoring at 14.5 points per game and is averaging 8.4 caroms per contest during the winning streak. Junior guard K.J. Jackson (Houston, Texas) is the only other Retriever in double figures at 11.3 points per game and he is currently 18th in the nation with 52 steals.
UMBC currently leads America East in defense, allowing 63.0 points per game (17th nationally). The Retrievers are also first in turnover margin (3.5, 30th nationally) and steals (8.0, 33rd nationally). They are 25th in the nation in total steals (185).
UMBC's five-game winning streak is the second-longest under Ryan Odom. The Retrievers won six in a row last season before falling to Kansas State.
UMBC has allowed less than 50 points to a pair of DI opponents, permitting 49 to Binghamton and Stony Brook in the current winning streak. The last time UMBC allowed 50 or less to multiple DI teams in a season was the 2006-07 campaign (3, Hampton, Binghamton, New Hampshire).
UMBC is allowing 54.8 points per game during the five-game surge and the nation's No. 19 defense is allowing 63.0 points per game. The program's best DI defensive scoring average of 63.6 ppg occurred in the 1998-99 season.
UMBC has outscored its foes by 150 points in the second half this season and has won five times while trailing at the break. Unofficially, only Norfolk State (+192) and Virginia Tech (+182) have outscored its foes by more points in second halves through games of Feb. 4.
A Glance at the Hawks: Hartford has rotated wins and losses since they opened America East play with the overtime triumph over UMBC. The Hawks have won three of four America East home games and dropped three of four on the road. After dropping a school-record 19 treys in an 86-60 thrashing of Binghamton last Wednesday, Hartford trailed by as many as 25 points in the second half in Saturday's 86-77 loss at Stony Brook.
Hartford's five seniors starters, who all average more than 30 minutes played per game, scored 74 of 77 points. Senior guard Jason Dunne led the way with 19 points.
Dunne is second in America East with 3.1 treys made (72) per game and averages 14.0 points per outing. But he is just third on the team in scoring, behind forward John Carroll (16.4 ppg) and J.R. Lynch (15.2 ppg). Lynch leads America East in steals (2.3 per game) and is second in assists (3.7 per outing).
Hartford tops the league in treys per game (9.6) and 3-point field goal percentage (37.0 percent).
Series Record/Last Meetings: The Hawks hold a 18-16 overall lead in the series after the 66-64 overtime victory a month ago. UMBC won all three meetings a season ago, including two in Baltimore. The Retrievers have won 10 of 17 meetings at home in the series.
On January 9 in West Hartford, a spirited UMBC second-half rally could not produce a victory, as the Retrievers fell, 66-64, in overtime. Junior forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) came off the bench to score a season-high 18 points, while Sherburne added 17.
UMBC trailed by as many as 12 points early and 34-25, at the break, but rallied to lead from the 7:14 mark until 2.5 seconds remained when Lynch hit two free throws to knot the score at 59-all. Jackson's attempt to win the game in regulation from 30 feet out hit the front of the rim. UMBC missed the front end of two one-and-one situations on two possessions prior to Lynch's two made free throws.
The Hawks never trailed in overtime, but a pair of misses by Lynch with five seconds left gave UMBC a chance. After advancing the ball to midcourt with 2.5 seconds left and calling a time out, junior guard Ricky Council (Durham, N.C.) got open on the right wing, but his 22-footer to win the game drew the front of the rim.
Up Next: UMBC plays its next two on the road, beginning with a contest at Maine on Sunday, Feb. 10, with tip-off time set for 1:00 p.m.