Stony Brook, N.Y. – UMBC sophomore guard Jairus Lyles led all scorers with 24 points ,and the Retrievers trimmed a 17-point deficit down to three points midway through the second half, but America East preseason favorite Stony Brook weathered the storm and prevailed, 86-74 at IFCU Arena.
Lyles has scored 24 or more points in six of his first seven outings in the black and gold.
Three Seawolves scored over 20 points in the game, led by Bryan Sekunda, who netted 21 points. Stony Brook (12-4, 3-0 America East) has won eight consecutive games and is a perfect 7-0 at IFCU Arena
UMBC (5-12, 1-2 America East) trailed, 45-33 at the half and were behind by a dozen at 60-48 with 13:33 remaining. But senior post Cody Joyce (Churchton, Md./Southern) scored four points in an 8-0 run and Lyles capped a 13-4 surge with a trey to bring the Retrievers to within 64-61 with 9:18 remaining.
But 2014-15 America East Player of the Year, SBU center Jameel Warney converted a traditional 3-point play on the next possession. After UMBC committed one of just their four turnovers on the night, Stony Brook guard Ahmad Walker hit a pair of free throws to restore an eight-point lead.
UMBC would get within six points on two occasions, but a 7-0 Seawolf run gave the hosts a comfortable 78-65 advantage with 4:21 remaining.
Lyles hit 9-of-18 from the floor and 4-of-7 from behind the arc. He added six rebounds and three assists. Sherburne also hit 50 percent of his field goals, converting 5-of-10 inside the arc and 3-of-6 from long distance. He and Joyce also added six rebounds each.
UMBC hit nearly 43 percent from the floor (30-of-70) as they attempted 14 more field goals than the victors. Stony Brook converted 31 of 56 from the floor (55.4%) and outscored UMBC from the free throw line, 18-6. The Retrievers entered the game with 40 more free throws than their foes.
Stony Brook started the game blazing hot from the floor, hitting 7-of-8 from the floor and building a very quick 20-9 lead just 5:02 into the game. Sekunda buried his first four attempts from behind the arc as the hosts led by as many as 17 points at 45-28 with 3:48 to play. UMBC cut into the deficit by the break and trailed, 45-33 heading to intermission.
Stony Brook entered the game with the best rebounding margin in the league (+8.4), but only outrebounded UMBC, 36-34. The Retrievers garnered 14 offensive boards and outscored SBU, 14-8, on second chance points.
The Retrievers return home and entertain UMass-Lowell on Saturday, Jan. 16. The Retrievers look to win their fourth straight home game vs. the River Hawks in a noon tip-off.