By Corey Johns, So Much Sports Baltimore
Who would have thought a year ago anybody would be talking about a 4-0 UMBC season in 2016? Especially considering Kennesaw State had a player score 31 points (Kendrick Ray) and another post a 14-point, 15-rebound double-double (Aubrey Williams) and as a team shot 48.4% from the floor, it seemed unlikely they would be headed there either. But the Retrievers were unstoppable offensively themselves and beat the Owls 93-85 to stay unbeaten to start the season.
Jairus Lyles continued to show he is a dominant force on the basketball court, as he scored 29 points off 11-19 shooting along with a 6-6 effort from the charity strip. And three other Retrievers reached double-digits as the team shot 52.3% from the floor.
Joe Sherburne had a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double while Arkel Lamar and KJ Maura scored 15 and 12 points, respectively for UMBC.
After an early dead-heat, the Owls took early control of the game when a jumper by Ray put his team ahead 16-10.
After a few exchanged shots, Josh Burnett kept Kennesaw State ahead by five points at 22-17, but UMBC scored six-straight points to take the lead in the game. Lamar gave the Retrievers the lead after he tipped-in a miss by Jourdan Grant.
Kennesaw State still remained in control of the game and pushed back ahead by seven points at 38-31 late in the first half, but a 3-pointer by Maura and dunk by Lamar cut the Owls lead down to two and made it a 38-36 game at halftime.
A layup by Kyle Clarke and dunk by Jordan Jones pushed he Owls back ahead by six points within the first minute of the second half. Two old-fashioned three-point plays by Lyles and a 3-point shot by Sherburne got the Retrievers back out ahead, however.
UMBC used a 10-point run over a two minute span to get ahead 59-52 with 13:26 remaining. Kennesaw State fought back and tied the game at 68, but the Retrievers used a 9-2 run to take a lead they wouldn’t lose.
A layup and a 3-pointer by Ray cut UMBC’s lead down to one. The Retrievers shut the Owls down for three minutes, however, and went on an eight-point run to get ahead by nine points with less than three minutes left.
The Retrievers hit clutch free throws at the end of the game to keep ahead and secure the victory.
UMBC scored 57 points in the second half alone. Through four games the Retrievers have scored a school record 352 points, averaging 88 points per game.
UMBC will stay local next week when they travel to the state capital to play Navy on Thanksgiving eve at 7 p.m.