BALTIMORE – Before a boisterous crowd of nearly 1,400, UMBC battled Texas A&M- Corpus Christi, but came up short, falling, 79-61, in the College Insider Tournament semi-finals.
The Retrievers’ landmark season comes to an end with a mark of 21-13, while TAMCC (24-11) will host the title game on Friday.
Senior Will Darley (Timonium, Md./Dulaney) scored 15 points and finished his career with 552, the fifth-most in a single season in school history. He added a trio of treys and recorded 90 on the campaign, one shy of a Brian Neller’s single season record set in 2012-13.
Junior guard Rodney Elliott (Baltimore, Md./John Carroll), who earned the start in place of injured junior backcourt mate Jarius Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha), scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half. Freshman Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) added 10 points
UMBC led by as many as 10 points deep into the first half, but the Islanders would score 30 of the game’s next 40 points over a 12-minute span bridging both halves to take control.
Trailing 49-39 with 12:56 remaining, UMBC made one final push, as a Darley trey and back-to-back field goals by Lamar cut the TAMCC lead to 52-48 with 7:29 remaining. But the Islanders would respond with a 11-0 run, capped when Kareem South banked in a trey from 35 feet away.
UMBC only converted eight (of 23) second half field goals, while the Islanders hit 19-of-26 (73.1 percent). Just a 33.3 percent and low volume 3-point shooting team entering the game, the visitors converted 8-of-11 in the second half.
UMBC led for nearly 16 minutes of the first half. Trailing 15-14 at the 11:00 mark, the Retrievers ran off a 10-0 surge, as Elliott scored half the Retriever points in that span. UMBC took a pair of 10-point leads, the latest coming at 29-19 at the 3:52 mark, but the Islanders sliced the deficit in half and trailed, 34-29, at the break.
Corpus Christi senior forward Rashawn Thomas, the nation’s tenth-leading scorer entering the game, scored a game-high 23 points and collected a game-best nine caroms. South hit 8-of-11 shots from the floor and added 20 points for the visitors.
Darley surpassed the idle Lyles (17th place, 1086 points) and moved into 16th place with 1,095 points.
The three CIT victories were UMBC’s first in a post-season NCAA Division I Tournament and were the most ever recorded by an America East team.