Men's Basketball Rallies From Double-Digit Second Half Deficit to Edge Albany, 68-60

Joe Sherburne, who scored 14 points, became the 23rd Retriever to reach the 1,000 point plateau today. (Brian Gonzalez)
Joe Sherburne, who scored 14 points, became the 23rd Retriever to reach the 1,000 point plateau today. (Brian Gonzalez)

BALTIMORE – Graduate student guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half and backcourt mate, senior K.J. Maura (San Juan, P.R.) added 19 as UMBC rallied from 12 points down early in the second half and edged Albany, 68-60, at the UMBC Event Center.

The Retrievers (19-9, 10-3 America East) won for the third consecutive time and the ninth time in the last 11 games, while Albany (20-9, 8-6 AE) had a two-game winning halted.

The UMBC victory was its first over Albany since 2014 and just the second triumph in the last 19 meetings.

Albany led, 37-28, at the half, and briefly extended the lead to 12 at 45-33 with 18:13 remaining. They still led, 51-43, with 10:08 to play, when the Retrievers made the game's critical run. Buoyed by a pair of treys by freshman Brandon Horvath (West River, Md./Southern) and another by Maura, UMBC outscored UAlbany, 11-2, to take its first lead since the opning moments, at 54-53, at the 6:32 mark.   

The lead would be exchanged four times, until a driving layup by Lyles gave the hosts a 60-57 with 2:21 remaining. An ensuing Maura jumper extended the lead to 62-57, but Albany junior guard Joe Cremo nailed a trey from the left wing while being fouled to slice the gap to 62-60 with 76 seconds remaining.

However, Cremo missed the free throw and Lyles sunk two free throws on the other end to make the contest a two-possession game at 64-60 with 57 seconds left. The Retrievers got back-to-back stops on a defensive rebound and a Maura steal and the latter swished two free throws with 23 seconds remaining to increase the margin to 66-60.

Albany missed three shots on the other end and Lyles finally secured the carom and fed junior forward Joe Sherburne (Whitefish Bay, WIsc.) for a breakaway layup to seal the victory with 0.9 seconds remaining.

Sherburne added 14 points and reached a career milestone early, surpassing the 1,000-point plateau.

Maura added six assists and three steals, while freshman forward Daniel Akin (Eltham, England) led the Retrievers with seven caroms.

Cremo led all scorers with 25 points, including 18 in the second half.

But UMBC's more aggressive defense in the final 20 minutes forced nine second half Great Dane miscues and led to 13 Retriever points. Albany only converted 8-of-25 field goal attempts in the final 20 minutes and finished at 22-of-58 for the game.

The Retrievers knocked down 24-of-49 shots (49.0 percent) and 13-of-15 free throw attempts (86.7 percent). Lyles and Maura both swished all six attempts from the stripe.  

Sherburne reached the 1,000-point milestone early, hitting a field goal with 16:40 to play four his third and fourth points of the game. He became the 23rd Retriever and just the tenth junior to reach the plateau.

UMBC led, 10-8, but Cremo capped an 8-0 run with back-to-back treys to put the visitors in control. In the same sequence, America East's leading scorer, Lyles picked up his second foul of the game and would sit out all but the final 3:57 of the half.

Albany built the lead to 37-25, with 3:00 to play in the period, but a late Maura trey sliced the deficit to 37-28 at the break.

The Retrievers continue the homestand by welcoming Stony Brook to the Event Center on Wednesday.

Notes: UMBC improved to 9-1 in games decided by 10 points or less… The 19-9 record marks the first time the program has been ten games over .500 since 2007-08, when they captured the league championship… The 19 wins is tied for the fourth-most in UMBC's 32 years of NCAA Division I competition… The 10 America East wins are also the second-most in 15 conference seasons, trailing only the 13-3 mark in 2007-08.