UMBC (9-6) opens its 15th America East Conference season on Wednesday, Jan. 3, when they host the New Hampshire Wildcats (4-10). Tip-off time at the RAC Arena is set for 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 with Gary Stein, John Feinstein and Paul Mittermeier (sideline) on the call.
There is a $5 ticket special for seniors and the contest is sponsored by Jason's Deli.
Retriever Update: UMBC concluded its non-conference season by knocking down a season-high 17 treys and defeating Centenary (N.J.), 85-41, at the RAC Arena on Dec. 31. The Retrievers won all seven home games in November and December, posting their best non-conference record at the Division I level (1986-87). UMBC was 5-0 in non-conference play in 2007-08.
UMBC has won seven straight at home and eight of the last 11 games overall.
Graduate student guard Jairus Lyles leads America East in scoring (20.8 points per game) and steals (2.2 per game) and is ranked 36th nationally in scoring and 25th in steals.
Sophomore forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) (13.5 ppg, team high 6.8 rpg) junior forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) (10.8 ppg) and senior guard K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.) (10.2 ppg) also average in double figures. Maura, who tied a career high with 11 assists versus Centenary, is ranked 26th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.0) and 25th in assists per game (6.0).
Lyles (29th, 46.1%), Lamar (32nd, 45.8%) and Sherburne (39th, 45.2%) are all ranked in the top forty in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage and are 1-2-3 in America East.
UMBC leads America East, averaging 79.2 points per game and the Retrievers are converting 12.3 treys per game, which leads the nation through games of Jan. 1. They are ranked second with 185 total 3-pt. field goals made.
UMBC has won 12 of 13 at the RAC Arena, dating back to last season. and is 20-5 under Head Coach Ryan Odom at the RAC Arena. Odom will oversee his 50th game as UMBC bench boss and his 100th game as a collegiate head coach vs. UNH on Jan. 3.
A Glance at the Wildcats: UNH played a rugged non-conference schedule and gave national power Florida all they could handle, before succumbing, 70-63, on Nov. 19. The Wildcats are coming off an impressive 83-66 decision over Dartmouth on Dec. 30. Senior post Tanner Leissner scored 32 points and grad student forward Jacoby Armstrong added 21 in the rout.
Leissner, who earned America East Player of the Week honors on Tuesday, sits behind only Lyles in the America East scoring race, at 19.7 points per game. He is also ranked fourth in rebounding with 8.1 caroms per contest. Another senior post player, Iba Camara, leads the league with 10.2 rebounds per game.
New Hampshire leads America East in scoring defense (66.3 ppg allowed) and is top in the league (14th nationally) in free throw percentage at 77.7 percent. The Wildcats (0-5) are still looking for their first road victory of the season.
Last Year's Match-Up/Series Record: UNH won two of three classic 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. UMBC prevailed, 105-103, on Jan. 28, as Leissner scored 36 in defeat and Lyles tallied 28 to lead the hosts. UNH prevailed, 94-90, in Durham in the 50-minute regular season finale, forcing the Retrievers to come back to UNH just four days later for the 4-5 match-up in the America East quarterfinals. The Wildcats held serve, triumphing, 74-65.
New Hampshire leads the series, 19-11 and the Wildcats have won nine of 15 contests at the RAC Arena.
Up Next: UMBC starts a three-game northern road swing at Vermont on Saturday, Jan. 6.