Baltimore, Md.-- The 2019-20 basketball gets underway on Tuesday when the Retrievers welcome Valley Forge to the UMBC Event Center in the season opener. UMBC kicks off their 34th Division I season looking for their fourth-straight 20-win season against the Patriots, and a return trip to the America East title game for the third consecutive season.
Valley Forge Game Info:
What: UMBC Retrievers (0-0) vs. Valley Forge Patriots (0-0)
Where: UMBC Event Center - Baltimore, Md.
When: Tuesday, Nov. 5 - 7:00 p.m.
How to Watch: Live video on ESPN3 and the Watch ESPN app - Live stats at UMBCRetrievers.com
Promotions: Light Up Foam Stick Giveaway
Social Media: @UMBC_MBB, @UMBCAthletics, #RetrieverNation, #AEHoops
Scouting the Retrievers:
-UMBC comes into the 2019-20 season after another 20-win season, their third straight under coach Odom. The Retrievers made a return to the America East Championship game, host two playoff games and a 21-13, 11-5 AE record. The Retrievers held serve once again at home, going 13-4 in games at the UMBC Event Center.
-Defense was the name of the game last year, as UMBC finished the year 25th nationally in team defense, giving up just 64.0 ppg to opponents.
-Senior guard and preseason all-conference selection K.J. Jackson (Missouri City, Texas) is the top returning scorer for the Retrievers. Jackson averaged 12.8 ppg, shooting nearly 41 percent from the floor. The guard led the league with 77 steals, dishing out a team-best 106 assists.
-UMBC will also get six of their top seven scorers from a year ago in Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.), Brandon Horvath (West River, Md./Southern), Max Curran (Hooksett, N.H.), Daniel Akin (London, England) and Ricky Council II (Durham, N.C.)
Scouting the Patriots:
-Valley Forge comes into the contest after a 1-20 season last year out of the American Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA). Their lone win came at home in late November, as head coach DJ Damazo returns for his sixth season at the helm of the Patriots.
-The Patriots have 11 newcomers on the team, with just five members returning from last year's squad. Sophomore Aaron Hill returns for the Patriots after leading the team in scoring last year at 14.8 ppg. Valley Forge scored 62.1 ppg, giving up 78.8 ppg to opponents a year ago.
-This will be the first meeting between the two schools all-time.
Leader of the Pack:
-Head coach Ryan Odom returns for his fourth season at the helm of the Retrievers. Odom helped lead the Dawgs back to the America East title game, recording their third-straight 20-win season. The leader of the program is just four wins away from 100 for his career, and is the fourth winningest coach in program history, 18 games out of third.
-UMBC welcomes back a bevy of talent from last year's team that made it all the way to the America East title game. The Retrievers will get Daniel Akin and Max Curran back from injuries, who saw limited minutes in 2018-19. In addition, seniors K.J. Jackson and Arkel Lamar return for their final seasons in Baltimore, coming off of strong junior campaigns, with Brandon Horvath coming back after a breakout sophomore season.
-All-Rookie Team honoree R.J. Eytle-Rock (London, England) returns after stepping into a starting role late in the year. Eytle-Rock poured in 5.1 ppg with 56 assists (1.8 per game) shooting just over 40 percent from the floor. Ricky Council II comes back for his senior and second full season with UMBC, looking to make a big impact on the wing. Sophomore Jack Schwietz (Frisco, Texas) also returns after appearing in 12 games last year.
-Junior college transfer Darnell Rogers (Baltimore, Md./Indian Land (SC)/New Mexico JC) will suit up in the Black and Gold, returning to Baltimore where he spent his early years before moving down south towards the end of high school.
-Rogers is the son of former George Washington standout Shawnta Rogers who won Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year in 1999 and is a member of the GW Hall of Fame.
-The Retrievers will hit the road to take on Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday, Nov. 9. Tip-off with the Eagles is set for 3 p.m. in Fort Myers.