For the first time since last March, the Retrievers men’s basketball team took to the court of the Event Center on Saturday, to take on the Shenandoah University Hornets. This was the second consecutive year that the Division III Hornets made the trip to Baltimore to play UMBC. The Hornets played the Retrievers close in the first half of that Nov. 27 contest, trailing by only three points at halftime. However, in the second half of that game, UMBC found their rhythm, eventually beating Shenandoah 88-59. In that game, current graduate-forward Joe Sherburne led the team with 18 points.
Coach Ryan Odom changed his lineup on Saturday after junior-forward Arkel Lamar “overslept for something non-academic.” So, Odom turned to sophomore-forward Brandon Horvath to start at the forward position. But, this was not the most exciting turn of events for Horvath on the afternoon, as he was playing a game against his little brother Alex, who plays forward for the Hornets. “I was just really amped,” he said, as he was visibly excited to play against his brother after not seeing him for almost three months.
The first half of this year’s game was very similar to the one from a year ago. The Hornets were playing aggressive basketball, forcing 11 turnovers in the half. The Retriever’s offense struggled to find a rhythm due to the constant pressure from Shenandoah, struggling to score points until junior-guard KJ Jackson began to demonstrate his offensive prowess. Jackson registered 10 points in the half. In the last few minutes of the half, the Retrievers offense started to meld together, showing signs of overcoming the offensive woes that have plagued them early on this season. At the end of the half, fine passing from sophomore-guard Josh Rosario gave junior-forward Max Curran a path to the hoop and Curran subsequently unleashed a powerful dunk to send the game into halftime with a 29-24 score.
The second half would be much different. UMBC came out of the gates extremely strong, dominating the Hornets in every aspect of the game. UMBC started the half on a quick 30-6 run, capitalized by 10 points from Sherburne. Horvath would dominate the half, dunking twice, and registering 14 of his 19 points in the half. UMBC was in control of the game the entire half, with a barrage of three-pointers, and dunks they continued to pummel the defense of the Hornets until the clock finally wound down to 0, and the Retrievers won the game by a score of 93-45.
In the battle of the Horvath brothers, Brandon came out on top on Saturday. Brandon registered his first career double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Alex scored only 3 points and 1 rebound. With about 7 minutes left in the game, the two tangled up resulting in a hooking foul called on Alex which resulted in 2 free-throws for Brandon. However, the two were all smiles after the game, taking a picture together at half court to commemorate their first meeting in the NCAA.
Worth noting: Curran scored 14 points, and barely missed a double-double with 9 rebounds but had to leave the game due to an apparent pinky-finger dislocation.
The Retrievers continue their short homestand on Monday vs Manhattan at 7 p.m.