Albany Edges UMBC, 78-69, to Take Over Third Place in America East Race

Albany Edges UMBC, 78-69, to Take Over Third Place in America East Race

ALBANY – Host Albany (17-11, 8-5 America East) a pair of second half substantial scoring runs to take control of a key league contest and defeated UMBC (16-10, 7-6 AE), 78-69, at SEFCU Arena.

UMBC junior guard Jourdan Grant (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) came off the bench to lead the Retrievers with a season-best 15 points. Classmate and backcourt mate K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.) added 14 before fouling out down the stretch.

Albany sophomore forward Devonte Campbell nearly doubled his previous career high, scoring 25 points, and he added a game-high 10 rebounds.

UMBC extended a 31-28 hafltime lead to 40-36 on a trey by Maura at the 15:43 mark of the second half. But Campbell  and Dallas Ennema hit back-to-back threes for the Danes, starting an 11-0 surge that put the hosts ahead, 47-40.

The Retrievers came back with six straight points to cut the deficit to 47-46, but another Campbell trey sparked another Albany 12-3 run and the hosts led, 59-49, with 4:56 remaining.

UMBC could chip away, but the Danes converted 17-of-19 free throw attempts in the second half.

Retriever junior guard Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll) knocked down his third trey of the game to cut the deficit to 74-69 with 33 seconds left, but that was as close as the visitors would come.

After converting only 10 of 28 shots from the floor in the first half, Albany hit 15-of-29 in the final 20 mintues to finish at 43.9 percent for the game. UMBC countered with 50 percent in the second half and finished at 46.3 percent, but knocked down only 7-of-22 from behind the arc.

UMBC leading scorers Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) and Will Darley (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) scored 10 points each for the Retrievers.   

UMBC fell behind early, 8-3, but Grant came off the bench to score eight quick points to lead a 13-6 surge and give the visitors a 16-14 advantage with 10:49 to play in the first half. The Retrievers would extend the lead to 27-19 after a Lyles trey at the 5:25 mark, but would settle for a 31-28 halftime advantage.

Grant hit 6-of-10 shots from the floor and added a team-high five assists. Sophomore post Sam Schwietz (Frisco, Texas) led the Retrievers with a season-best seven rebounds and he added four blocked shots.

UMBC has dropped three straight for the first time this season and are now tied for fourth place with UNH in the conference race.

The Retrievers return home to take on UMass Lowell on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 1:00 p.m.