Robbie Jackson scored the game winning basket with 1.4 seconds left to give UMBC a 56-55 upset victory over conference leading Maine.
With 1:12 remaining the the game the UMBC men’s basketball team’s dreams of an upset of first place Maine looked to be gone as Black Bear point guard Junior Bernal stole the ball from Chris De La Rosa, took it up the court for a fast break lay-up, and was fouled on the play. Until this point UMBC did not trail after the first two minutes, but were on the wrong end of a big momentum swing.
But Bernal’s free throw did not go down, giving UMBC a breath of life. With 31 seconds Maine’s Andrew Rogers had the ball off an inbound pass following a timeout, and was immediately fouled. With the shot clock off he had a chance to force UMBC to make a three-pointer for a win, but missed both attempts. UMBC’s 7’0″ center Robbie Jackson battled for the rebound, and gave UMBC one more shot at a win.
He passed the ball to De La Rosa, who this time made sure no Maine player was around for a steal. He dribbled the clock down and with four seconds left he was met with a triple team. But when a team puts more than one defender on a player that leaves another guy open. De La Rosa somehow found that man wide open on the baseline, who was the guy who started the play, Jackson. He took three steps forward and with 1.4 seconds remaining he put UMBC ahead by one point after a layup and with not enough time for Maine to get the ball back down for a shot, he sealed UMBC their second victory of the season, and first victory against an America East opponent, breaking an 11 game skid.
When a first place team lets a last place team hang around, it usually does not end well for them, and that was the case in this game. Maine can out flat and let UMBC hang around the entire game. While they tied the game at the half, they let UMBC regain the lead, letting them be in the drivers seat. The Black Bears came out very flat in the game and combined with the UMBC defense stepping up they only shot 32.1% from the field, and 28% from three-point range.
UMBC however was very energized, playing as if they were on an 11 game winning streak rather than losing streak. But the two players who stepped up the most were both freshman, Adrian Satchell and Brian Neller. Satchell has started all 22 games for UMBC this season and had shown flashes of greatness. He recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, but also chipped in two steals and two blocks. Neller has also shown signs of being a good player, but more often than not his time was limited for very frustrating decisions. But against Maine he provided 12 points off the bench by hitting four three-pointers, shooting 50% in the game.
Clearly UMBC was desperate for a win, and caught a flat Maine team for their second win, and first conference win of the season. They will have a week off before their next game, which will be Hall of Fame day as they will take on Vermont in the RAC. They will then have their rematch against Maine for a second straight home game.