The UMBC men's basketball team (14-8, 5-2 America East) will play the program's final game at the RAC Arena on Saturday, Jan. 27, when the Retrievers welcome the Maine Black Bears (5-17, 2-5 AE). Tip-off time set for 1:00 p.m. and the broadcast will air on ESPN3 with Gary Stein, John Feinstein and Paul Mittermeier on the call.
The RAC Arena, first known as Gymnasium Two and then the UMBC Fieldhouse, served as the home for Retriever basketball for 45 years (1973-74). Nearly 600 men's intercollegiate games have been played in the facility, ranging from local classics in the 1970's Baltimore Metro Classic to the 2008 America East Championship game. UMBC has just set a school Division I record in the building, opening the current season with ten consecutive victories.
The women's team will play the final game vs. Stony Brook on Wednesday, Jan. 31, then the men christen the new 5,000-seat UMBC Event Center on Saturday, Feb. 3, at 4:00 p.m., when the Vermont Catamounts provide the opposition.
UMBC's coaching staff will be participating in Coaches vs. Cancer Suits And Sneakers® Week (January 22-28, 2018). This is a nationwide event that unites coaches across the country to raise funds and awareness about the fight against cancer, and promotes the American Cancer Society as a source of inspiration and hope for those facing cancer. While coaching games during the week, coaches wear sneakers with their game attire as a visible reminder about the importance of nutrition and physical activity in reducing one's cancer risk.
Retriever Update: UMBC extended its school record of home wins to start a season to ten, as the Retrievers withstood a Binghamton second half rally and defeated the Bearcats, 69-57, at the RAC Arena.
Junior forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) led all scorers with 18 points and graduate student guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./De Matha) added 17 as the hosts improved to 14-8 overall, 5-2 in America East play and 10-0 at the RAC Arena.
Lyles added six caroms, four assists and three steals and became the eighth player in school history to reach the 500-field goal (505) plateau. He also moved one point past Brian Hodges ('08) into sixth place on UMBC's all-time scoring list with 1,473 points.
Lyles, paces the Retrievers and America East in scoring (20.6 points per game) and is also in the top ten in six other America East statistical categories.
Senior guard K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.) (9.9 ppg) leads the conference with 5.1 helpers per game and is ranked 35th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio, while Sherburne averages 10.9 points per contest.
UMBC leads the league, averaging 75.9 points per game and the Retrievers are converting 11.4 treys per game, sixth in the nation through games of Jan. 26. They are fourth nationally with 250 total 3-pt. field goals made.
A Glance at the Black Bears: Maine snapped a four-game slide with a 69-68 victory over rival UNH at Cross Insurance Center on Jan. 24. Junior guard Aaron Calixte scored 24 points, while Vernon Lowndes, Jr., came off the bench and scored 15 points. Calixte buried a trey with 23 seconds remaining and the Black Bears got a defensive stop on the final possesion to earn the win.
Calixte averages 20.4 points per game in league play, behind only UML's Jahad Thomas as the No. 2 scorer. He avearges 16.6 per game overall and leads the conference in free throw percentage (88.0 percent) and has buried a team-best 42 treys on the season. Maine is last in the league in scoring (66.5 ppg), but is stingy against the trey, allowing just 33.3 percent from long range, second-best in America East.
The Series: Maine is the lone America East team that the Retrievers boast of a winning record against. UMBC has won seven straight in the series and now leads, 18-13. The Retrievers have also won five in a row at home over Maine and hold a 8-6 series advantage.
Last season, UMBC won, 75-64, at the RAC Arena and 83-71 at Cross Insurance Center. Back on Jan. 10, UMBC overcame shooting woes and gutted out a 72-67 victory at Maine.
Jairus Lyles led five Retrievers in double figures with 16 points. Freshman post Daniel Akin keyed a late rally and recorded season highs with 11 points and seven rebounds. UMBC knocked down only 7-of-26 from long range, but held Maine to 37.1 percent shooting to earn the road victory.
Up Next: UMBC will meet Stony Brook for the first time this season when the Retrievers take on the Seawolves on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 7:00 p.m.