BALTIMORE – UMBC sophomore center Nolan Gerrity (Cleveland, Ohio) set a program Division I record by converting all nine field goal attempts and junior guard K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.) added 13 points and a season-high 11 assists as the Retrievers moved to 11-4 overall and 2-0 in America East play with a 75-64 victory over Maine in an early start at the RAC Arena.
UMBC has won four of five and moved to 2-0 in America East play for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign.
Gerrity led UMBC by scoring a career-high 18 points and added seven rebounds.
Along with Maura, Retriever junior guard Jarius Lyles (Silver Spring, Md.) posted a double-double with 17 points and a game-best 10 rebounds.
"He (Maura) was huge – we were a little bit lethargic, minus him, and he got us going," said head coach Ryan Odom. "Nolan (Gerrity) is getting much better at posting, catching… and making plays."
Maine junior guard Wes Myers led all scorers with 28 points, three days after scoring 30 in his America East debut versus Vermont. The Black Bears lost for the seventh consecutive time and dropped to 4-13, 0-2.
UMBC led, 40-30, at the half and looked to have the game in control as they built an 18-point lead with 8:23 remaining. But the injury and illness-riddled Black Bears fought back and scored the game's next 11 points to get within 62-55 with 5:24 remaining.
After a rare UMBC time out, Maura found sharpshooting wing Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) open in the left corner and the sophomore buried a trey to restore a double-digit margin. Lyles and senior forward Will Darley (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) would convert layups after Maine misfired on their next two possessions to bujld a 69-55 Retriever advantage at the 4:04 mark and stave off the late upset bid.
UMBC shot 47.7 percent for the contest, knocking down 31 of 65 shots, while Maine slipped under 40 percent down the stretch, hitting 22-of-56 (39.3 percent). The Retrievers outscored the Black Bears, 36-18, in the paint, with Gerrity leading the way.
The game was tight in the early going, and the Black Bears took their lone lead at 18-17 on a trey by Dennis Ashley with 10:33 to play in the period. UMBC took a 25-23 advantage moments later, but then surged, 11-2, to lead, 36-25, on a Lyles three-pointer. The Retrievers grabbed a 12-point advantage in the final minute of play, but Maine's Vincent Eze hit a jumper in the lane to bring the visitors to within 40-30 at the break.
Maura, who scored UMBC's first eight points, finished the first stanza with 10 points, 5 assists and a pair of steals. Lyles led UMBC with 12 first half points, but Myers led all scorers with 14 of his team's 30 points.
Darley added 11 points for UMBC, while Maine forwards Vincent Eze and Marko Pirovic also scored 11 points for the visitors.
UMBC takes to the road for the first time in league play and will play at Hartford and Vermont in a 48-hour span on Jan. 11 and 13.
Notes: The all-time mark for field goal efficiency is 10-for-10, set by Breck Robinson in 1985-86, UMBC's final DIvision II season... Darley was 8-of-8 versus Mount St. Mary's in December of 2015… K.J. Maura's 11 assists first double-figure assist effort since Chris De La Rosa dished out 10 at VMI in Nov of 2011.