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Retrievers’ season end in AEC quarterfinals

By: Chris Jeter

Rodney Elliott scored 10 points off the bench for UMBC, but the starter’s simply weren’t productive enough as UMBC saw their season come to an end in the quarterfinals of the America East tournament.

The most successful season in nearly a decade for the UMBC Retrievers men’s basketball team came to a close in Durham, New Hampshire on Wednesday night. The Retrievers lost to the New Hampshire Wildcats 74-65 in the quarterfinals of the America East Conference tournament.

It was all New Hampshire from the opening tip. Wildcats junior guard Jordan Reed nailed a 3-pointer 26 seconds into the game to put them ahead. New Hampshire never relinquished the lead; there was not even a tie in the game. The lack of lead changes is interesting considering the previous two meetings between these two teams went to double overtime.

Despite never holding a lead for the duration of the game, the Retrievers never went away. After New Hampshire extended the lead to 52-39 with 14:17 left in regulation, the Retrievers went on a 12-0 run for the next five and a half minutes to cut the lead to one. Junior guard Rodney Elliot’s layup brought UMBC within striking distance before an and-one by New Hampshire senior guard Jaleen Smith gave the Wildcats some breathing room. UMBC never got as close for the rest of the game.

New Hampshire, which came in ranked 51st in the country in points allowed per 100 possessions, were their usual stout selves on defense. UMBC shot just 43-percent from the field and went just 3-for-16 from long distance. The Retrievers struggles are not surprising considering they were playing one of the tougher defenses in the country on the road, but heading into the game it did seem like they had them figured out as they topped 90 points in both of their previous games against them. But not this time.

For their part, the Wildcats shot 55-percent from the field and 47-percent from downtown. Rebounding was once again a problem area for the Retrievers; New Hampshire held a 37-25 edge on the glass.

Four players recorded double figure for New Hampshire in route to the victory, two of them scored 20. Those men were Smith and junior forward Tanner Leissner. Smith shot 8-for-12 from the field and added seven rebounds and seven assists. Leissner had four dimes and three boards to go with his efficient shooting (8-for-14). Junior forward Iba Cámara recorded a double-double, with 10 points and 16 rebounds. Senior guard Daniel Dion added 14 points, three rebounds, and three assists.

Despite the poor shooting, UMBC remained in the game with significant advantages in bench points and points in the paint. The Retrievers almost doubled up the Wildcats inside (42-24) while their reserves dominated.

Unfortunately, the starters were not as productive. Only one of the five Retriever first-stringers finished in double figures. Junior guard Jairus Lyles led the team in scoring with 17. Lyles struggled at times to find a consistent stroke, going just 6-for-17 from the field. Elliott was the only other player to score in double figures. He came off the bench and scored 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting.

New Hampshire put the clamps down on the rest of the usual UMBC contributors. Senior forward Will Darley was held to just seven points in his UMBC finale. Darley shot 3-for-9 overall and went 1-for-4 from three point range. Junior point guard K.J. Maura finished with only four points and two assists. Maura shot a ghastly 2-for-10 from the field. Sophomore swingman Joe Sherburne played just nine minutes in the contest, scoring just two points and no attempts from 3-point range.

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Chris Jeter

Staff Writer
Chris has always had a love for sports. He inherited his affinity for them from his New York Yankees-loving dad and grandad, even if they gave his beloved Orioles a hard time during their 14 years of futility. Chis grew up an Orioles, Ravens, Maryland Terrapins and Chicago Bulls fan. His love for the local teams can from his mother. His love for the Bulls came from Michael Jordan and his favorite color being red. As a youth, Chris played basketball, baseball, and soccer with varying degrees of success. He always wanted to play for a team in one of those sports when he grew up, but once he quickly realized that, that was probably not going to happen, Chris wanted to be a part of sports in some other way. Eventually, Chris settled on becoming a sports writer. A year after transferring to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he took Media & Communications Studies with a Journalism Minor, he began writing for The Retriever, initially as a contributing writer and eventually as a staff writer for sports. After several months writing for The Retriever, he began writing for So Much Sports, covering various college sports and as a columnist, writing about a variety of national sports topics.

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