In-state rivals University of Maryland, Baltimore County and University of Maryland Eastern-Shore met for the first time since 2005 on Monday in a matchup of teacher vs. student as the Retrievers prevailed, 64-59, in Baltimore.
UMES coach Frank Allen, former head coach at UMBC who led the Retrievers to their most recent NCAA Tournament appearance in 2007-08, returned to RAC Arena for the first time since his departure and faced former player/assistant Aki Thomas, who is in his second season as coach of UMBC.
Allen's Hawks fell into a huge early hole, 19-5, only six minutes into the game, but UMES rallied in a big way with a 23-5 run and went to halftime ahead, 28-24, thanks to a personal 5-0 spurt by guard Isaac Smith with 2:26 before intermission.
UMBC, however, came roaring out of the locker room and went on a 17-5 run in the first five minutes to go back in front, 41-33, as forwards Malik Garner and David Kadiri combined for 13 of those points during that stretch.
UMES (2-5) closed to one point several times -- including 60-59 with under a minute to play -- but UMBC (3-6) held on when Hawks forward Troy Snyder missed two free throws and then the putback with 28 seconds remaining.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Retrievers, who hit the road for a four-game stretch. UMES has now lost two straight and fell to 0-4 on the road this season.
Kadiri led UMBC with 21 points, followed by guard Quentin Jones with 13 points and Garner, who chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds. Guard Rodney Elliot added 10 points for the Retrievers, who only got two points from star forward Chase Plummer. Plummer saw his streak of five consecutive double-figure games snapped, although he needed just one bucket coming in to become the 15th player in UMBC history with 1,000 career points.
UMES guard Hakeem Baxter led the Hawks with a game-high 28. Smith was the only other UMES player in double figures with 10 points, while leading scorer and star guard KyRee Jones (18.3 ppg) was held to only two points in 36 minutes. The Hawks were just 2-for-14 from 3-point range.
UMBC, which played an NCAA record-tying four straight overtime games earlier this season, has a tough road ahead during its four-game road trip coming up, starting Thursday at Duquesne and culminating Dec. 21 at George Washington.
The Hawks' next game is Dec. 15 at Oregon State, the third contest in a four-game road trip.