UMBC Advances to CIT Quarter-Finals With 87-79 Win Over St. Francis (Pa.)

photo by: Brian Gonzalez
photo by: Brian Gonzalez

BALTIMORE – UMBC senior forward Will Darley (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) scored 30 points and led UMBC to an 87-79 victory over Saint Francis (Pa.) in the second round of the College Insider Tournament on Saturday afternoon at the RAC Arena.

The Retrievers (20-12) will advance to the quarter-finals, which will be held between March 24-26,

UMBC posted its 20th win of the season, reaching that plateau for just the third time in 30 NCAA Division I seasons.

"I'm so happy for the guys because they have worked really hard for this, they've listened from day one and they've jelled," said head coach Ryan Odom. "They have become a true team and that's what it's all about. The CiT is a big accomplishment for us and we wanted to put our best foot forward and…compete to win."

The Retrievers' junior guard trio of K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.), Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) and Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll) each scored in double figures. Maura scored 14 points, including 10 in the second half, Lyles posted a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds and Elliott added 11 points off the bench.

Elliott became the third Retriever this year (Darley and Lyles were the others) to reach the 1,000-point plateau and now stands in 20 th place on the hall-time scoring list with 1,008 points.

Sophomore guard Isaiah Blackmon led four Red Flash players in double figures with 16 points. St. Francis, the Northeast Conference's runners-up, finished the campaign at 17-17.

UMBC led for nearly 39 minutes of play, but had to step on the gas in the final five minutes to seal the victory. The Red Flash took advantage of an uncharacteristic 12 Retriever second half turnovers and sliced a 62-49 deficit with 11:45 remaining to 68-66 on a Keith Braxton layup with 5:51 to play.

But Maura sunk a trey from the right wing, and after a Red Flash turnover, Darley was fouled while shooting a trey and one of the nation's top free throw shooters buried all three attempts with 3:58 remaining.

Retriever sophomore post Sam Schwietz (Frisco, Texas) completed the 9-0 run with a layup and free throw and Maura put the game away and extended the lead to 82-69 with another trey with 2:21 on the clock.

UMBC hit 46.9 percent from the floor, but, for the 14th time this season, buried double figures in treys as they knocked down 13-of-30 (43.3 percent) shots from behind the arc. The Red Flash converted 32-of-62 shots (51.6 percent) and 11 of 27 treys.

But the Retrievers badly outrebounded SFU, 42-27, and outscored the visitors, 14-3, in second chance points. UMBC moved to 14-0 on the season when they outrebound an opponent.

Darley became the seventh Retriever to score 500 or more points in a season. His current total of 529 is sixth. He buried five of his first six attempts from behind the arc and now has 84 treys on the year, the third-most in school history. The 30-point effort was the third of his career.

UMBC's 2001-02 team also won 20 games, while the America East title team of 2007-08 won a school record 24.