Men's Basketball Closes Non-Conference Play at Virginia Tech on Wednesday

Head Coach Ryan Odom returns to Blacksburg, where he spent seven years on the Hokie sidelines.
Head Coach Ryan Odom returns to Blacksburg, where he spent seven years on the Hokie sidelines.

UMBC at Virginia Tech Game Notes 

The UMBC Retrievers (9-3) play their final non-conference contest of the 2016-17 campaign at ACC power Virginia Tech (10-1) on Wednesday, Dec. 28. Tip-off time at Cassell Coliseum is slated for 7:00 p.m. and the contest will be broadcast via ACC Network Extra/ESPN3.

 

New Retriever Head Coach Ryan Odom spent seven years at Virginia Tech (2003-10) and served on the 2006-07 staff that earned an NCAA Tournament berth and defeated Illinois in the first round.

 

Live stats will be available via www.umbcretrievers.com and fans can also follow via the men's basketball program's Twitter feed (UMBC_MBB). Access of live stats is also available via UMBC Front Row, UMBC Athletics' mobile website.

 

RETRIEVERS' UPDATE: UMBC junior guard Jairus Lyles scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, leading the Retrievers to a 62-61 victory at James Madison on Dec. 23.

 

Sophomore forward Joe Sherburne added 18 points for UMBC. The nation's second-best three-point percentage shooter hit 5-of-7 shots from behind the arc.

 

The Retrievers would lead by as many as 13 points at 52-39 at the midpoint of the half, and were still in command, 62-50, after a Lyles' trey with 5:33 remaining.

 

But UMBC would not score again and had to withstand a furious rally down the stretch by JMU.

After scoring a program-high 120 points in the win over The Citadel, UMBC won with a (season-low) 62-point performance at JMU. It was the fewest points scored by UMBC in a win since a 58-53 victory over Longwood on Dec. 14, 2014. Since the 2009-10 season, UMBC has only won six games when scoring 62 or fewer points.

 

Lyles leads the squad and America East in scoring, averaging 22.1 points per game. Named America East Player of the Week for the second time this season on Dec. 26, he is currently ranked 12th in the country in points per game.   

 

Sherburne, who has knocked down 29-of-41 treys over the past seven games, is now ranked third nationally in 3-pt. field goal percentage at 56.1 percent. He is now averaging 15.2 points per contest. Senior forward Will Darley is also averaging in double figures at 13.0 points per contest.

 

Through games of Dec. 26, UMBC was 31st in the nation in scoring average at 83.7 points per game. They are also ranked 14th nationally with 10.0 three-point field goals made per game and 10th in 3-pt. field goal percentage (41.5). The Retrievers lead America East in scoring average, scoring margin (+9.6), field goal percentage (49.0), treys made per game and 3-pt. percentage.

 

DOG BYTES: The 9-3 start is also UMBC's best Division I record through 12 games. Only the 1981-82 NCAA Division II squad was also 9-3 after 12 contests.  

 

The nine victories surpasses UMBC's total from a year ago. The four road wins are the most since five posted in the 2008-09 season. UMBC is currently one of 23 teams (of 351) with four or more true road wins.

 

UMBC was ranked No. 21 in the Dec. 26 College Insider Mid-Major poll.

 

The Retrievers have led 11 of 12 games with five minutes remaining.

 

UMBC set a school scoring record by putting up 120 points in the 120-111 double overtime win over The Citadel on Dec. 19.  The previous mark was 118, which was recorded versus Gallaudet on Jan. 29, 1974. The Retrievers' Division I mark was 115 points, tallied against Central Connecticut State in a 115-107 win at the RAC Arena on March 6, 1992.

 

The contest in Blacksburg will be UMBC's third in the commonwealth in 18 days. The Retrievers were edged, 78-75, at Richmond on Dec. 10 and nipped James Madison, 62-61 last week.

 

HOKIES' UPDATE: Virginia Tech has won six straight to improve to 10-1 on the campaign. In their last contest, the Hokies overwhelmed Charleston Southern, 87-59, on Dec. 20.

 

Reserve junior forward Zach LeDay leads four Hokies averaging double figures at 16.7 points per game. He also corrals a team-best 7.4 rebounds per game in 28.2 minutes played per outing. Red-shirt sophomore guard Ahmed Hill, the team's best marksman with 31 treys, averages 14.6 points per contest. He scored a game-high 20 points in the most recent win over CSU.

 

Tech has played two common opponents with UMBC, outlasting Maryland Eastern Shore, 75-59, and The Citadel, 113-71. The Hokies shoot 49.0 percent from the floor and 39.3 percent from behind the arc.

 

Virginia Tech has won 12 straight games at Cassell Coliseum. They open ACC play versus Duke on Dec. 31 at noon.   

 

THE SERIES: In the lone previous meeting, Virginia Tech held UMBC to the second-lowest scoring total in program history in a 71-34 Hokies' victory on Dec. 22, 2009 at Cassell Coliseum. 

 

WHO'S UP NEXT: The Retrievers open their 14th America East season on Thursday, Jan. 5 when they host Binghamton. Tip-off time at the RAC Arena is set for 7:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3.