Orono, Maine –Junior guard K.J. Jackson (Houston, Texas) and graduate student forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) scored 22 and 21 points respectively as an injury-riddled UMBC squad rallied to defeat Maine, 67-66, at Cross Insurance Center on Sunday.
The Retrievers improved to 15-10 on the season and 7-3 in America East play, while Maine slipped to 5-20, 3-7. UMBC has won six of the last seven games and three straight on the road in league competition.
UMBC dressed only ten players in the game, as junior post Sam Schwietz (ankle) joined the list of injured big men, which now totals five. Two of those players not in uniform – sophomores Dan Akin (London, England) and Brandon Horvath (West River, Md./Southern) combined for 25 points and 8 rebounds in UMBC's earlier 61-52 win over Maine.
UMBC led for just over four minutes in the game and took their initial second half advantage at 56-55 on a Jackson trey with 3:11 remaining. After the Black Bears hit one-of-two free throws to knot the score, Sherburne connected on a trey to put the visitors up for good at 59-56 with 2:39 remaining.
The Retrievers misfired on 22 of their first 27 attempts from behind the arc, but Jackson and Sherburne started a run of four in row to increase the lead. After Maine hit a pair of free throws, Sherburne drilled another from long range, and following a Maine miss, junior guard Ricky Council (Durham, N.C.) delivered his third trey of the game to push the margin to 65-59 with 91 seconds left.
Jackson hit two free throws to keep the lead at six at 67-61 with 13 seconds left. But a deep corner trey by Maine's Dennis Ashley and a UMBC turnover and layup by Vincent Eze trimmed the lead to 67-66 with two seconds left. After an official review, Council caught the ensuing inbounds pass, avoided a foul and ran out the clock to seal the victory.
Council tied his career high with 14 points in 27 minutes off the bench. Senior center Nolan Gerrity (Cleveland, Ohio), who go the start in place of Schwietz, hit 3-of-4 field goals, scoring 6 points in 23 minutes.
Sherburne nearly posted a double-double by adding a game-high nine rebounds. He moved into sole possession of third place on UMBC's all-time treys list with 253.
Maine guard Isaiah White led his squad with 17 points.
Maine knocked down 8 of its first 11 shots from the floor and took a 19-11 lead at the 10:54 mark of the first half. But, despite missing 12 of their first 13 shots from behind the arc versus the Maine 1-3-1 zone, the Retrievers went on a 16-7 run to sneak in front, 27-26, on a Jackson runner in the lane at the 3:15 mark. The UMBC only allowed eight points in the final 6:54 of the half and the teams went to the break knotted at 32-all.
The Retrievers hit 11-of-13 shots inside the arc in the first 20 minutes.
UMBC has now won seven games (7-8) when trailing or tied at the half.
UMBC heads right back out on the road as they travel to Binghamton on Tuesday for a Wednesday evening encounter with the Bearcats.