BALTIMORE – UMBC and one of its top players in school history ended 45 seasons of men's basketball in grand style at the Retriever Activities Center Arena, as the Retrievers outlasted Maine, 86-74, on Saturday afternoon.
Graduate student guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) put on an amazing early second half display en route to a 34-point performance in the program's final game at the 45-year old facility. UMBC will move across the street and compete at the UMBC Event Center, beginning with next Saturday Feb. 3's game versus Vermont.
The Retrievers (15-8, 6-2 America East) won for the fifth time in the last six outings and reach the halfway point in the league schedule firmly in second place. Maine, which led for over 10 minutes of play, fell to 5-18, 2-6 AE.
UMBC won all 11 games at the RAC Arena this season, setting a school Division I record for most consecutive home victories.
Lyles scored a modest 10 first-half points, as Maine closed the period on a 9-1 run to take a 36-35 halftime lead. After Maine's Andrew Fleming opened the second half scoring with a field goal, Lyles buried a trey to knot the score at 38-all. But he was just getting warmed up.
With the score knotted at 42-all at the 17:51 mark, Lyles hit a mid-range jumper, then buried his second trey of the half. After Maine responded with a field goal, Lyles reeled off 11 consecutive points in a span of only 86 seconds. He converted three treys, sandwiched around a steal, which led to an uncontested layup.
That gave UMBC a 58-44 lead, as Lyles had totaled 19 points in the first 5:03 of the half. In that span, he also became just sixth player in school history to reach the 1,500-point mark.
UMBC would extend the lead to as much as 69-47 at the 11:15 mark. The Black Bears would continue to play and battle back and got as close as 83-72 with 1:48 remaining. But UMBC broke Maine pressure and senior guard Jourdan Grant (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) would record his side's final field goal in the building at the 1:44 mark, while Lyles added the final UMBC point, a free throw, with 42 seconds to play.
Maine's Dennis Ashley scored the final field goal and layup with seven ticks left to finalize the score.
Lyles set a career mark with 7 (of 11) treys and hit 12-of-22 shots from the field overall. His 34-point total was one shy of his season high and the 30-point game was his fourth this season and eighth of his UMBC career. He added six rebounds and four steals.
UMBC, which hit 8-of-9 from the floor to start the second half, finished, at 52.4 percent (33-of-63) for the game. Maine also shot well, hitting 29-of-56 shots (51.8 percent).
The Retrievers forced 24 Black Bear turnovers, leading to 31 points.
Two other Retrievers came up just shy of double-doubles. Senior guard K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.) scored 10 points and added 9 assists, while Akin scored 9 points and recorded a season-high and game-high 10 caroms. Maura added five steals and committed just one turnover.
Sophomore forward Max Curran (Hooksett, N.H.) came off the bench to score 12 points, while Sherburne added 11.
Local product Isaiah White (Harford Community College) led Maine with 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
UMBC ran its winning streak over Maine to eight in a row.
The Retrievers' final RAC Arena record is 209-177. Second-year head coach Ryan Odom won 24 of 29 games played at the arena.
UMBC goes on the road to face Stony Brook for the first time this season on Wednesday, Jan. 31, before returning home to a brand-new home venue.