The University of Maryland Baltimore County took advantage of its aggressiveness on defense and on the offensive glass Saturday afternoon, scoring 32 points off University of Maine turnovers on the way to 79-76 America East victory at the RAC Arena in Baltimore.
The Retrievers manufactured several of the Black Bears’ 20 turnovers with their full-court pressure and also excelled with its offensive rebounding, scoring 18 second-chance points.
Chase Plummer and Devarick Houston each scored off offensive rebounds during a key 6-0 spurt in the late going to help the Retrievers hold off the Black Bears.
Plummer (7 rebounds) and Bryan Harris each scored 16 points to lead UMBC (5-11, 1-2 AE), which grabbed 17 offensive rebounds. Malik Garner scored 14 points for the Retrievers, who made 12 steals.
Zarko Valjarevic went 6-for-8 from the 3-point arc on his way to a game-high 22 points to pace UMaine (3-12, 1-2 AE). Shaun Lawton provided 12 points, five assists and two steals and Dimitry Akanda-Coronel netted 11 points.
The Bears also received 10 points each from Xavier Pollard (4 assists, 9 turnovers) and Till Gloger. UMaine shot 47 percent (7-for-15) from the arc, but went 13-for-22 (59 percent) from the foul line.
It was UMaine’s second straight loss and its third in the last four contests.
Pollard got the Black Bears within three points with his driving layup with 51 seconds remaining and UMaine got the ball back when Harris missed a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left.
The Bears called a timeout with seven seconds to go, but on the ensuing inbounds play, a cross-court pass from Pollard intended for Valjarevic sailed out of bounds.
After a UMBC timeout, UMaine fouled Garner, who missed both ends of a double bonus. Garet Beal rebounded, but the Retrievers fouled Pollard in the backcourt at the four-second mark.
Pollard made the first foul shot, but missed the second. UMBC’s Rodney Elliott was fouled and made the first of two free throws and missed the second with four seconds left. Akanda-Coronel’s desperation heave missed at the buzzer.
UMaine led 40-36 at halftime and extended its advantage to eight points on baskets by Akanda-Coronel and Christian Ejiga in the first minute of the second half.
The Retrievers answered with a 10-3 run and eventually put together an important 6-0 spurt.
With the game tied 70-70, Garner made a jumper with 4:45 to play, then Plummer scored off his own miss. After another missed shot by the Bears, Houston swooped in to dunk a missed 3-pointer by Garner to give UMBC a 76-70 lead with 3:12 to play.
UMaine returns to action Thursday with a 7 p.m. America East game against Vermont at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.