UMBC men’s basketball opened their 2018-2019 campaign on Tuesday night, as they traveled to Milwaukee to take on Marquette. This was the first game for UMBC since their historic NCAA tournament run came to an end. The Retrievers looked to showcase their two new transfer-guards on Tuesday, but Coach Ryan Odom’s new lineup struggled to find cohesion in the first game of the season.
Graduate-forward Joe Sherburne and Junior-forward Arkel Lamar returned to the starting lineup, and Junior-forward Max Curran found his way back into the starting lineup at a new position, starting at center. UMBC junior-guards Ricky Council II and K.J Jackson both made their debuts for the Retrievers in the starting lineup.
Arkel Lamar started off the night impressively, scoring 9 of the team’s first 12 points early on in the first half. But, other UMBC players were not able to convert open looks, and Marquette was able to take advantage of UMBC’s misses, taking an early 20-12 lead. UMBC was able to keep the game close, however, getting as close as 25-21 after back-to-back three-point shots by Sherburne. Marquette was able to adjust to the Retrievers attempt to spark their perimeter offense, and quickly locked-down the perimeter. Marquette then began to run away with the first half, going into halftime with a 37-24 lead. UMBC shot an abysmal 25.7 percent in the half.
In the second half, things were not much better for the Retrievers. The Retrievers never had much life in the half, shooting an even worse 18.5 percent on the field. The offense also added 7 turnovers in the half. Sherburne and Lamar who were key in the first half were held to 0 and 2 points respectively in the second, which compounded problems for UMBC. Though, the Retrievers defense did impress, holding a Marquette team that scored 80+ points per game last season, the offensive nightmare for the Retrievers would carry the team to a dismal 67-42 loss.
After losing guards Jairus Lyles, KJ Maura and Jourdan Grant after last season, it was expected that the Retrievers would have some issues with their offense. Jackson and Council are extremely skilled players, but without much experience at the Division I level, it is natural for them to have growing pains. Odom used a plethora of guards, including senior-guard Isaiah Rogers, sophomore-guard Josh Rosario, and freshman-guards Jack Schweitz, Jose Placer and RJ Eytle-Rock, but none were able to generate much for the Retrievers. However, this young core still projects to be a strength for the Retrievers as the season continues.
The men’s basketball team returns home Saturday to take on Shenandoah at the Event Center at 1 p.m.