The UMBC men’s basketball team opened up regular season play this past Friday against Akron University. Although starting out strong, the Retrievers could not sustain their play and ultimately fell to the Akron Zips, 74-57.
Within the first 10 minutes of the game the Retrievers looked as if they were going to dominate the contest. Newly eligible junior transfer, Cody Joyce, showed his excitement to be back out on the court by opening up the game with a dunk and a lay-up. His efforts were matched by sophomore Rodney Elliott who drained two quick three pointers and caused turnovers on the defensive side. At the 11:49 mark, UMBC had complete control with an 18-10 lead.
From that point on UMBC hit a brick wall while the Zips began to click on all cylinders, going on a 18-2 run. Joyce finally ended the bleeding with a lay-up, but the damage had proven to be done as UMBC would not be able to chip away much at Akron’s lead and went into the half down, 37-26.
UMBC would once again strike first in the scoring column at the opening of the second half, but Akron would not sleep this time around and would keep a steady 15 – 20 point lead through the first 10 minutes.
At the 8:24 mark things started to get ugly for UMBC and coach Aki Thomas called a 30 second time-out with the hopes of stopping Akron’s fast building momentum. The timeout would prove ineffective, as Akron would push the lead to 30.
Despite small runs, UMBC would not be able to overcome the large deficit and would lose to Akron.
A bright spot in this game was found in Joyce, leading the Retrievers in scoring with 13 points and five rebounds. His post presence will be key this season to UMBC’s success and he will be looked to for this type of production when the Retrievers enter conference play.
Devarick Houston also proved that if not in foul trouble he is an effective rebounding presence, which will be important if UMBC hopes to play at the fast pace they have been playing so far.
Their next game will be against in-state rival Loyola University at the Greyhounds gym on Wednesday, Nov. 19. The battles between these two teams are always filled with energy and heightened levels of play and this match-up in the rivalry should prove to have the same aura around it.