BALTIMORE, Md. – Junior guard, Zarko Valjarevic led the Maine offense with 24 points, including 6-of-8 from beyond the arc but the Black Bears couldn't overcome 20 turnovers, falling to UMBC, 79-76 at the RAC on Saturday, evening. With the loss Maine now drops to 3-12 and 1-2 in conference while UMBC improves to 5-11 and 1-2 in America East play.
Valjarevic used a scorching first half where he hit 6-of-8 from beyond the arc and scored 19 of his 24 points in the first frame, however Maine committed 20 giveaways while only forcing the Retrievers to give it up four times in the contest. The Retrievers ended up scoring 32 points off of those turnovers which was the difference.
UMBC had two players lead in offense as Bryan Harris and Chase Plummer both had 16 points apiece. Malik Garner was second on that list, chipping in 14.
Maine once again came up on the short end of the stick as far as rebounds is concerned as the Retrievers took down 42 to the Black Bears' 38.
Devarick Houston loudly opened the scoring in the first two minutes as she slammed down the game's first basket off a pass from Rodney Elliot.
Two possessions later Akanda-Coronel dashed into the paint and laid in the Black Bears first basket of the game to cut the UMBC lead to 5-2.
Harris gave UMBC an 8-2 lead, headed into the under 16:00 minute media timeout and connected on the ensuing free throw after being fouled on the layup, to make it 9-2, with 15:41 left in the first half.
The Retrievers kept pouring it on as Gloger turned the ball over in the offensive zone, which resulted in Elliot streaking up court and slamming down a dunk to make it 14-5 and forcing a Maine timeout at the 14:22 mark of the first half.
Following the timeout Shaun Lawton made things happen on the hardwood as he sliced through the defense to lay in a bucket and followed it up on the next possession with a heads-up assist to Valjarevic who hit the trey and pushed the lead to 14-10.
The Retrievers pushed the lead to 25-14 before Valjarevic nailed his second 3-pointer of the game cutting the UMBC lead to 25-17, with 8:21 left in the half.
The Black Bears cut it to just three points with 6:23 left, capped by a Valjarevic layup, which was called goaltending against the Retrievers, after Lawton stole the basketball and fed it to the junior from Belgrade, Serbia.
Charles Taylor slammed down a dunk in the waning minutes of the opening half, but got called for taunting following the play and sent Valjarevic to the line for two uncontested shots, as the junior pulled Maine to within two, 33-31.
On the following possession Pollard tied it up for the first time in the ball game with 2:51 with a layup to make it 33-33.
Valjarevic hit his fifth three of the game with little over two minutes remaining in the half to tie things up at 36-36 and Pollard followed that up with a layup on the next possession to give Maine its first lead of the game, 38-36.
The Black Bears finished the half strong as they headed to halftime up 40-36.
The Black Bears recovered from a slow start to end the half shooting 51 percent and 55 from beyond the arc. Likewise the first half defense showed up as the half wore on as the squad held UMBC to 35 percent from the field and just 18 percent from 3-point land (3-of-16).
Maine got its lead out to 44-36 but UMBC hit three-straight buckets as the Retrievers clawed back to within two points, 44-42 with 16:58 remaining.
The teams jockeyed for control, trading leads several times. Valjarevic nailed his sxith 3-pointer of the game, giving Maine a 52-50 lead, with 12:10 remaining in the half.
With the game tied 70-70 at the 5:10 mark, the Retrievers went on a 6-0 run to pull ahead, 76-70. Gloger cut into that lead on the next possession to make it 76-72 however UMBC hit two free throws on its next possession to retake the six point lead, 78-72.
Maine attempted a comeback one final time rebounding an errant UMBC shot and forwarding it to a streaking Pollard who laid in a bucket to make it 78-75, with 50 seconds remaining in the game.
A late Retriever shot clock violation gave Maine the ball with 14 seconds left, needing a trey to knot things up.
In what was a drawn up play miscue, Pollard lofted a court wide pass to a streaking Valjarevic but the ball was tipped out of play by the Black Bears and ended the comeback bid, as Maine fell 79-76.
The Black Bears will be back in action next week for three-straight home games beginning next Thursday when the team hosts Vermont and then follows it up with a Saturday matinee against Albany. Game times are 7 p.m. and 2 p.m.