BALTIMORE – UMBC (9-6) concluded its non-conference season by knocking down a season-high 17 treys and defeating Centenary (N.J.), 85-41, at the RAC Arena.
The Retrievers won all seven home games in November and December, posting their best non-conference record at the Division I level (1986-87).
Graduate student guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) led a balanced attack with 17 points in 20 minutes of action. He moved into seventh place on UMBC's all-time scoring list with 1,335 points in just 65 games played.
After uncharacteristically struggling from long distance at Maryland on Friday, UMBC got back into form quickly against the guard-oriented Cyclones. Nine of the Retrievers' 14 field goals in the first half were from behind the arc and the Retrievers hovered around the 50 percent mark for the period. Lyles knocked down four straight from long distance, missing his first and last of the half and finishing the period with 14 points.
Leading 18-14 at the 11:51 mark, Lyles buried back-to-back treys and junior forward Max Portmann (Wichita Falls, Texas) added to layup to push the lead to double figures, where it would remain in the final 29 minutes of play. UMBC led, 41-24, at the break.
The Retrievers opened the second half on a 16-2 run over a span of 5:31 to put the game away. Senior guard K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.) posted nine of his career-high tying 11 assists in the final 20 minutes.
UMBC knocked down 17-of-34 from long range as seven Retrievers converting from behind the arc. Lyles hit 5-of-8, sophomore forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) swished 4-of-7, and freshman forward Brandon Horvath (West River, Md./Southern) knocked down 3-of-6 to lead the onslaught.
Portmann (season-high 13 points), Lamar (12) and junior forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) (10) scored in double figures, while Horvath scored 9 points and added a game and season-high 9 rebounds.
Cyclone freshman guard Chris LaBelle led his side with 16 points.
UMBC shot 51.6 percent overall (51.6 percent), while Centenary only made five second-half field goals and finished at 33.3 percent (15-of-45),
UMBC opens its 15th America East Conference season on Wednesday, Jan. 3, when they host the New Hampshire Wildcats. UNH won two of three meetings versus the Retrievers a year ago. Both regular season games went to double overtime, with the home team claiming victory, but UNH prevailed in the America East quarterfinals in Durham.