Four Retrievers scored in double figures led by reserve forward Tra'Von Fagan (pictured above), who posted a team high 18 points, gave UMBC the lift they needed to hold off an unconscious Sherif Gross-Bullock and feisty Bryant team 76-73. In a back an forth affair that saw UMBC maintain control for the majority of the game, a determined Gross-Bullock would nearly will Bryant to a road victory. Gross-Bullock lit up the scoreboard with 25 points in the second half, ultimately finishing with a career high 39 points on 13-22 shooting from the field and 6-9 from 3-point range. UMBC thanks to a balanced attack from Fagan, the inside-outside play of forwards Yaw Obeng-Mensah and Jarvis Doles as well as the timely shooting of Jacob Boonyasith, were able to ride out the scoring barrage from Gross-Bullock and claim a hard fought conference victory.
Fagan added 6 rebounds and 2 blocks to his team high 18 points on 7-9 shooting from the field. Craig Beaudion II, who played a great floor game, posted 15 points, game high 8 assists on 5-9 shooting and only ONE turnover. Jacob Booyasith added 13 points on 3-6 shooting and Yaw Obeng Mensah finished with 12 points and 6 rebounds to pace UMBC.
Earl Timberlake finished with a double double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 2 assists before fouling out while Antwan Walker contributed 8 points and 6 rebounds on 4-5 shooting from the field to help lead Bryant.
UMBC's Front Court:
of Yaw Obeng-Mensah, Tra'Von Fagan and Jarvis Doles were highly impactful against the undersized front court of Bryant. The trio combined for 38 points, 16 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks on 16-26 shooting from the field. Obeng-Mensah got things started hitting UMBC's first three shots from the baseline, attacking Bryants 2-3 zone, then Doles and Fagan joined the party, scoring from mid-range, at the basket, in transition and from 3-point range. Fagan was especially impressive due to his versatility. The reserve forward gave Bryant fits all game. If he found a smaller guard on him, he punished them inside. If he had Walker or Cramer on him, he took them to the outside and attacked, he kept Bryant defenders off balance all game by taking advantage of his size and quickness to score time and time again. Doles had his moments offensively, but defensively he was UMBC's anchor, battling Walker, Kramer and Timberlake at times in the paint while being able to stay with Bryant's guards on the perimeter whenever he had to switch on to them. All three were uniquely productive in their own way and their production was an x-factor in UMBC's win.
was off the charts. He's always been a capable scorer going back to his high school days, however, he was beyond special in the Bulldogs loss to UMBC. Gross-Bullock torched the Retrievers with deep three's, shifty crossovers to get in the paint for lay-ups and movement without the ball on the way to a career high 39 points. Gross-Bullocks 39 points is the third highest scoring game in program history since they've competed at the Division I level. Gross-Bullock, the leading scorer in the America East currently (17.6 ppg), did an admirable job of putting Bryant on his back with most of the Bulldogs struggling to deal with UMBC's intense defense and nearly led them to a win on the road. This was a performance that will be remembered for some time.
The Little Things:
truly decided this competitive contest. Free Throw shooting and turnovers played a huge role in UMBC holding on to claim victory over Bryant. It's as simple as that. For the game, UMBC shot 77.8 percent (14-18) from the charity stripe while Bryant struggled, especially down the stretch, converting 63.6 percent of their free throws (14-22). Over the final 3:20 of the game and UMBC on top by one 69-68, the Retrievers shot 8-10 from the line while Bryant shot 3-6.
Making matters worse, Bryant, turned the ball over 14 times with seven of those turnovers coming from Sherif Gross-Bullock and Earl Timberlake. UMBC capitalize by scoring 17 points off Bryants turnovers. Free throw shooting and turnovers are key factors among others that ultimately decide a game, and Saturday afternoon, UMBC was superior in those areas.