BALTIMORE – Juniors K.J. Jackson (Houston, Texas) and Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) scored 17 points each, as UMBC won for the eighth time in nine outings, holding on to edge UMass Lowell, 70-66, before 2,688 at the UMBC Event Center.
The Retrievers improved to 17-10 overall and 9-3 in America East, while UML slipped to 14-13, 6-6.
The Retrievers led for all but 1:38 of the game, but the River Hawks climbed out of five deficits of eight points or more in the second half. UMBC led, 68-61 with 1:23 remaining, but UML's Obadiah Noel converted a three-point play eight seconds later and Alex Rivera converted a turnover into a layup to slice the gap to 68-66 with 65 seconds left.
UMBC's Brandon Horvath (West River, Md./Southern) – returning after a three-game injury absence – misfired on a jumper near the end of the shot clock, but freshman guard R.J. Eytle-Rock (London, England) snared the offensive carom with 29 seconds left. UML fouled graduate student forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.), who sunk two free throws with 15 seconds left to increase the lead to 70-66.
The Retrievers forced a tough jumper with less than five seconds left and Eytle-Rock snared the rebound to seal the victory.
UMBC – a 67 percent free throw shooting team entering the game- hit 19-of-25 (76.0 percent) for the game. The 19 free throws made is the second-highest figure for the Retrievers this season and their most in a league game.
The Retrievers – ranked No. 17 in scoring defense entering play – held UML to 13 points below their scoring average.
Lamar knocked down a season-high 6 (of 9) free throws and led all players with eight rebounds. Jackson added six caroms and three steals, increasing his season total to 61, the fifth-most in a single season in school history.
UMBC got out to a 12-5 lead, but UML scored the next eight points to take its first lead of the game at the midpoint of the first half. Jackson scored 10 first half points as UMBC took a 32-28 halftime lead.
Sherburne's two early second-half treys helped the Retrievers build their first 10-point lead at 40-30 with just 1:43 into the second half and a three-point play by Lamar gave the hosts a 59-49 advantage with 7:59 remaining.
UML's Christian Lutete shared game-high scoring honors with 17 points for the visitors.
Sherburne scored 12 points and moved into seventh place on UMBC's all-time scoring list, now with 1,482 points.
The 17 wins ties the 1988-89 for the seventh-most in UMBC's Division I (1986-87) history. Head Coach Ryan Odom owns three of those top eight win totals.
UMBC will host first-place Vermont on Thursday in a nationally-televised game by ESPNU. Tip-off time is set for 7:00 p.m. and tickets are available at https://bit.ly/2EdX3Hy.