Chris De La Rosa hit a 15-foot jumper with 1.9 seconds remaining in regulation to help lift UMBC past the American University men's basketball team Sunday afternoon in Bender Arena, 59-57. Vlad Moldoveanu and Riley Grafft each scored 14 points to lead the Eagles while Nick Hendra and Stephen Lumpkins notched seven points and 10 rebounds apiece.
American (2-9) held the hot hand early, connecting on six of its
first eight shots to sprint out to a 14-2 lead. Consecutive layups
McCormack made the score 9-2 before Blake
Jolivette found a streaking Grafft for a dunk in
transition to push it to 11-2. Moldoveanu capped the run off on a
three-pointer with 14:53 to play.
UMBC (1-9) closed its deficit to two later in the half using a 10-1 stretch. Four different Retrievers scored during the four-minute span including a pair of free throws by De La Rosa which brought the tally to 20-18. The Eagles answered back with six straight points of their own and regained an eight point lead, 26-18, after two Lumpkins freebies with 3:08 to play. Grafft hit a putback just before time expired and the Eagles took a 32-25 advatage into the half.
Grafft led all scorers at the break with 10 points and six rebounds while Lumpkins added seven points and seven boards. American corraled 11 offensive rebounds in the frame resulting in 10 second-chance points.
UMBC scored the first 11 points of the second half to take a 38-32 lead, its first of the game. Chauncey Gilliam scored seven points during the run as UMBC held the Eagles without a field goal for the first five-plus minutes of play. Daniel Munoz ended the drought on a three for his first bucket of the game.
American evened the score at 43 off a Grafft putback with 10:17 to play but was never able to regain the lead. UMBC opened a five-point advantage, 50-45, on a Robbie Jackson lay-in and led by as many as six following a Jackson free throw, 53-47, with 5:28 on the clock. The Eagles were able to retie the score three more times down the stretch and with 36 ticks remaining McCormack sank a pair of free throws to knot the game up at 57. On UMBC's final possession, however, De La Rosa came off a ball screen at the left elbow and drained a jumper with 1.9 seconds to play, sealing the Retrievers victory, 59-57.
Moldoveanu and Grafft each finished the afternoon with a team-high 14 points. Moldoveanu connected on 5-of-11 attempts while playing just 17 minutes. Grafft was 5-of-10 from the floor, 4-of-6 from the line and pulled down nine rebounds, including eight offensive. Hendra and Lumpkins each netted seven points while grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds. Hendra dished out a career-high five assists and Lumpkins tallied a career-best four blocked shots. McCormack notched nine points and five rebounds.
As a team, American shot just 35.2 percent from the floor and 23.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Eagles continued their solid play on the boards and at the line however, outrebounding the Retrievers by a margin of 41-30 and connecting on 14-of-18 free-throw attempts.
The Eagles will return to action on Monday, December 21, as they travel to State College, Pa., to take on Penn State. Tipoff from the Bryce Jordan Center is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. Fans unnable to attend the game in person can catch all of the action live via BigTenNetwork.com for the single event price of $2.99 by clicking here.