BALTIMORE, Md. – Graduate student Everette Hammond (Silver Spring, Md.) logged a game-high 19 points to help the UMass Lowell men’s basketball team (23-7, 10-5 AE) fend off a late comeback attempt and seal a 75-70 road win at UMBC (17-13, 7-8 AE) on Wednesday evening.
Although the River Hawks led by as many as 24 early in the second, the Retrievers put together an 18-2 run to pull within a bucket, 67-64, with 4:22 left on the clock. Hammond and junior Max Brooks (Waldorf, Md.) converted at the line, but it was a one-possession game twice more. However, Hammond nailed a timely triple of his own to keep UMass Lowell in front inside of the last minute before senior Ayinde Hikim (Washington, D.C.) and Brooks secured the outcome at the foul line in the final seconds.
“Another great road victory for us against a very talented and well-coached UMBC team with a real, electric home atmosphere,” said Head Coach Pat Duquette. “It was a great homecoming for all of our DMV area players and their families. It’s always good to get back to Maryland, see family, and get a good win.”
Hammond shot 5-for-7 from three-point territory to lead four double-digit scorers for UMass Lowell. Brooks added 13 points, while graduate student Allin Blunt (Crownsville, Md.) and sophomore Cam Morris III (Alexander City, Ala.) chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Senior Abdoul Karim Coulibaly (Bamako, Mali) paced the team on the glass with nine rebounds.
Hammond and Brooks started the night with back-to-back buckets, but UMBC evened the board inside the first four minutes. The River Hawks quickly broke the game open, though, with a 14-2 run that was capped off by five points from freshman Brayden O’Connor (Ottawa, Ontario) to create a 21-9 edge with 11:29 remaining.
The Retrievers closed the gap to just five less than three minutes later, but Brooks and Blunt scored on consecutive trips down the court to regain a double-figure buffer. Hammond added one more trey in the period and the visitors would outscore their hosts, 15-4, in the waning minutes to take a 47-32 advantage into the break.
The River Hawks went right back to work coming out of the locker room, opening the second half on an 11-2 run that included a pair of threes from Hammond to take their largest lead of the night, 58-34, with 16:38 still to go. However, the home team marched right back into it with 10 unanswered, but Morris knocked down a jumper to extinguish the burst. Three minutes later, the River Hawks had regained a 19-point margin, but the Retrievers continued to push and battled all the way back with the 18-2 run that set up the exciting finish.
The River Hawks will wrap up the regular season at home on Saturday, February 25 when they host New Hampshire at the Tsongas Center at 5 p.m. in a game that will determine playoff seedings.
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