BALTIMORE, Md. - Freshman forward Jacoby Armstrong (Sachse, Texas) scored 14 points and snagged eight rebounds but the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team dropped a 68-57 decision to UMBC on Wednesday night at RAC Arena.
Freshman Rodney Elliott netted 21 points on 6 of 12 shooting and 7-for-7 from the line to lead the Retrievers. Quentin Jones (16 points) and Brett Roseboro (10 points) also scored in double-figures for UMBC, which improves to 8-15 overall and 4-6 in America East Conference play.
Armstrong scored eight of his 14 points in the second half and went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line to pace the Wildcats. Classmate Daniel Dion (Cedar Park, Texas) chipped in with 10 points, two rebounds, two assists, and two steals for UNH, which falls to 5-17 overall and 3-6 in the America East.
Senior Jordon Bronner (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) opened the game with a free throw to put UNH up 1-0, but the Retrievers responded with eight straight points to take an 8-1 advantage early on. Rodney Elliott scored the first five for UMBC on a jumper and a 3-pointer. Brett Roseboro capped the run with a 3-ball of his own to put UMBC up 8-1.
The Wildcats answered with a 15-0 run over the next seven minutes to take a 16-8 advantage. Dion got it started for the Wildcats when he buried a 3 from the left corner. Armstrong followed with a pair of free throws before Frank Okeke (DeSoto, Texas) nailed his first 3-ball of the night. The Wildcats then got a layup from Armstrong, a 3-pointer from Bronner, and a Chris Pelcher (Albany, N.Y.) bucket, before Okeke closed out the run with a free throw.
UMBC followed with an 8-2 run to cut the UNH advantage to one point, but UNH kept fighting, eventually regaining a 29-24 halftime lead.
A balanced scoring offense paced UNH in the first period, as Armstrong, Pelcher, Bronner, and Okeke each finished the half with six points. Jones and Elliott led the way for UMBC in the first half, scoring eight and seven points, respectively.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 33-24 by using a 4-0 advantage to open the second half. Armstrong got the first two for UNH on a pair of free throws before Pelcher added a layup to put UNH up six.
UMBC answered with a 7-2 on five free throws and a layup by Quentin Jones to cut the UNH lead to 35-31. UNH and UMBC then traded baskets over the next two minutes.
The Retrievers followed with a 24-5 run to take a 60-47 lead with 6:44 remaining. Elliott led the charge for UMBC, scoring 11 of the 24 points for the Retrievers during the span.
The Wildcats didn't give up, as they quickly responded with a 10-2 run to trim the UMBC lead to 62-57. Jaleen Smith (Freeport, Texas) got it started when he scored a layup in traffic and got fouled. After he nailed the free throw, the Wildcats got a stop on defense leading up to two more free throws from Armstrong to cut the lead to 60-52. After a jumper from UMBC's Charles Taylor Jr., freshman John Edwards (Charlotte, N.C.) hit the first 3-pointer of his career to bring UNH within seven and Armstrong added two free throws to make it a five-point game.
UMBC refused to be denied though, as they closed out the game on a 6-0 run to earn the 68-57 victory.
The Wildcats were held to 33.3% (16 of 48) from the floor and 31.3% (5-for-16) from 3-point range, while UMBC shot 52.5% (21 of 40) and 46.2% from downtown.
UNH returns to action Saturday afternoon when it travels to Long Island to take on the Stony Brook Seawolves at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 3. The Wildcats return to Lundholm Gymnasium on Wednesday, Feb. 12 when they host the Binghamton Bearcats at 7 p.m. For tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.