BALTIMORE - The UMBC men's basketball team will host Vermont on Thursday, Feb. 21 in a nationally-televised game by ESPNU. Robert Ford and Mike O'Donnell have the call in this America East showdown. Tip-off time is set for 7:00 p.m. and tickets are available at https://bit.ly/2EdX3Hy.
The Retrievers (17-10, 9-3 America East) have won eight of their last nine games and sit in third place in the conference standings. First-place Vermont (21-5, 11-1 AE) has won six straight since their sole conference setback – a 74-61 loss to UMBC on Jan. 23 in Burlington.
The contest is also UMBC men's basketball's #SpreadRespect game. These events were created with the purpose of furthering awareness and education to ensure equality, respect and safety for all athletes without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. That respect also extends to race, ethnicity, gender, religion and more.
Retriever Review: Junior guard K.J. Jackson (Houston, Texas) and junior forward 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 on Saturday's Alumni Day at the UMBC Event Center.
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.
The win over UMass Lowell...
1. Guaranteed UMBC's third consecutive winning season, a first in 33 years of NCAA Division I play (UMBC had five straight at the D2 level, 1977-82)
2. Moved the 2018-19 into a tie for seventh place on UMBC's all-time list for wins in a season (17)...Head Coach Ryan Odom has produced three of those eight seasons.
Graduate student forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) – who leads the Retrievers in scoring at 14.5 points per game, has passed six players on UMBC's all-time scoring list this season and sits in 7th place with 1,482 points. He is 25th among all active Division I players in three-point field goals made. He now has 259, moving into third place on UMBC's all-time list. He is also tied for 17th among active players with 129 games played and broke Terence Ward's (1997-01) record for games started with his 113th vs. Binghamton. He is expected to pass former teammate Jourdan Grant for the all-time UMBC record by playing in game No. 130 vs. Vermont.
Jackson is averaging 16.2 ppg over his last six games and 12.1 on the campaign. He is currently ranked 17th in the nation with 61 total steals and just moved into fifth place on UMBC all-time list for thefts in a season, recording the most since Dana Harris had 72 in the 1992-93 season.
UMBC currently leads America East in defense, allowing 63.0 points per game (18th nationally). The Retrievers are also first in turnover margin (3.1, 38st nationally) and steals (7.9, 32nd nationally). They are 21st in the nation in total steals (214).
A Glance at the Catamounts: Vermont has won six straight since suffering their lone America East setback of the season to UMBC. They have won 18 of their last 20 games and bring a 24-game America East road winning streak into the UMBC Event Center.
Vermont edged Hartford, 77-75, in West Hartford on Saturday. Every other win for the Catamounts this season have come by double digits and they are outscoring AE foes by 16.9 points per game.
Seven-time America East Player of the Week Anthony Lamb led UVM with 25 points at Hartford. The game featured 16 lead changes and eight ties and Vermont benefitted from converting 11 more free throws (18-7) than the hosts.
Lamb leads America East with 21.5 points per game and is second in rebounding at 7.8. Senior guard Ernie Duncan checks in with 14.7 points per game and leads the Catamounts with 60 treys on the season.
Series Record/Last Meetings: After losing 23 consecutive games versus Vermont - including the first-ever game at the UMBC Event Center last February - the Retrievers have captured two in a row. The first occured in the America East title game in Burlington, a 65-62 triumph on a last-second trey by Jarius Lyles.
Last month, UMBC scored 74 points - their most in league play this season - in a 74-61 upset at Patrick Gym. The Retrievers shot 52.2 percent from the floor, including 14-of-23 (60.9 percent) in the second half. Joe Sherburne scored 20 points to lead the attack as UMBC broke a 32-all halfitme tie by scoring their first 14 points of the second half and holding Vermont without a field goal for the first 11:11 of period.
Vermont has won ten consecutive games at UMBC and 13 of 15 overall. The Retrievers' last win in their home gym occurred in the 2007-08 season.
Up Next: UMBC departs on Friday for a Saturday evening contest at UAlbany. Tip time at SEFCU Arena is set for 7:00 p.m.