Stony Brook, N.Y. – UMBC graduate student guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) led all scorers with 24 points and hit the go-ahead layup with1:40 remaining and the Retrievers edged host Stony Brook, 67-63, at IFCU Arena.
The Retrievers have won three straight, five of six and improved to 16-8 overall and 7-2 in America East play. Stony Brook slipped to 8-15, 3-6.
The victory snapped a 10-game losing streak for UMBC on Long Island, dating back to a January 2008 triumph.
The Retrievers led, 60-57, with 3:13 to play, but Stony Brook's Jaron Cornish buried a long trey to knot the score at 60-all with 1:59 remaining. But on the next possession, Lyles beat his defender and scored at the rim to give UMBC the lead for good.
Stony Brook would hit one of two free throws on their next offensive foray, but UMBC senior guard K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.) converted his patented high-arcing layup to put UMBC ahead, 64-61, with 54 seconds left.
SBU's Akwasi Yeboah scored inside on the other end with 33.3 seconds left. Sophomore forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.), who missed the previous two games due to an ankle injury, was fouled on the ensuing inbounds pass and converted one of two attempts. The Retrievers defended brilliantly as Stony Brook went for the tie or lead, forcing a guard trey, which was off the mark and went out of bounds with 2.2 seconds to play.
Lamar was fouled on a long lead inbounds pass, and calmly knocked down both free throws into the Stony Brook band section to seal the victory.
Lamar added 11 points off the bench, while Maura recorded 7 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals.
It was Lyles and the Retriever defense which set the tone early. UMBC led, 18-13, at the midway point of the half, when the guests scored 10 consecutive points to build a 28-13 advantage with 7:20 to play in the stanza. At that point, UMBC had forced seven Seawolf turnovers and turned them into 12 points. But the hosts turned the tide as Maura went to the bench with his second foul at the 6:37 mark. Stony Brook turned three Retriever turnovers into eight points in the midst of a 14-1 run.
Stony Brook drew even at 30-all with 3:02 remaining, but a Lyles layup with 1:56 to play and a Sherburne 26-footer just before the buzzer gave the Retrievers a 35-30 halftime advantage.
Lyles scored 15 first half points and hauled down 7 rebounds in all 20 minutes of first half action. UMBC converted 10-of-17 shots inside the arc, but misfired on 11 of 14 from long range.
The Retrievers will christen the new 5,000-seat UMBC Event Center on Saturday, Feb. 3, at 4:00 p.m., when the first-place Vermont Catamounts provide the opposition.