BALTIMORE – It’s déjà vu all over again.
For the second consecutive year, the UMBC Retrievers (20-12) will host the Hartford Hawks (18-14) in the #AEPlayoffs semi-final round. The action gets underway at the UMBC Event Center at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 and the game will broadcast on ESPN+.
Tickets are available via ticketmaster at
Although the same two institutions will battle for the right to compete in the America East Championship game on the same pieces of hardwood, there are many differences from a year ago. The seedings are a bit different, as each team moved down one notch from last year’s No. 2 UMBC squad hosting the third-seeded Hawks. Last year, UMBC entered the game having swept the regular season series, while the Hawks have turned the tables in 2019.
The other big differences lie on the UMBC side, as only two starters from a year ago– graduate student forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) and junior forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) are expected to be in the starting five tomorrow evening. Sherburne – an America East First Team selection – leads UMBC with 14.1 points per game, while Lamar was a prime contributor (11 points, 3 steals) in Saturday’s 62-54 quarter-final win over UAlbany.
And, although UMBC was an improved defensive club last season, the Retrievers have taken it to a new level in 2018-19. The defending champions are ranked No. 17 in the nation on defense, allowing 63.3 points per game. They have held 13 opponents under the 60-point mark, tying marks set by the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 team.
A Glance at the Hawks: The last time Hartford (18-14) came to the UMBC Event Center, they stood at 11-12 overall and 4-4 in the conference. But they handed the Retrievers their lone conference loss of the season, 70-61, then proceeded to win six of their next eight games.
Included in that stretch was Saturday’s 78-70 win over No. 5 UMass Lowell in West Hartford. Senior post John Carroll hit a trey to break a 70-all tie in the final minute and the Hawks got stops and made free throws to prevail. Carroll posted a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while senior guard J.R. Lynch led all five Hawk starters in double figures with 21.
Lynch, an America East First Team member, leads the potent Hawk offense (74.8 ppg) with 16.4 points per contest. Hartford’s five senior starters average 34.0 minutes played per game.
Series Record/Last Meetings: Hartford was the lone America East team to win a game at the UMBC Event Center this season and the only team to record a season sweep over the Retrievers. The Hawks extended their series lead to 19-16 with a 66-64 overtime win in early January and the 70-61 victory a month later.
Last season, UMBC defeated Hartford in all three meetings, including a 75-60 triumph in the America East semi-finals, also played at the UEC.
UMBC has won 10 of 18 meetings between the teams in Baltimore, but UH has taken four of the last six.
In the Post-Season: UMBC and Hartford have met three times in post-season play and the Retrievers have triumphed all three times. The first match-up occurred in the 2008 title game when UMBC prevailed, 82-65, at the RAC Arena. As the No. 6 seed, the Retrievers won a 2013 QF game over the Hawks, 69-62, in a game played at UAlbany. And, last year, the Retrievers defeated UH, 75-60, in the semi-final round, en route to their second league championship.
Up Next: The winner of this game competes for the America East Championship on Saturday, March 16 at the site of the higher seed. The game will be televised by ESPN2 and tips off at 11:00 a.m.