UMBC Opens Conference Play In Impressive Fashion
Baltimore, Md – First year coach Ryan Odom has UMBC off to a great start this season. They won their conference home opener 85-71, against a solid Binghamton squad that will be a tough competitor in the America East. Coach Odom came to UMBC after one successful season at Division II Lenoir-Rhyne. Odom has a long history as an assistant coach at the Division I level, as well as being the interim head coach at Charlotte in 2015. UMBC’s offense and overall team cohesion is miles better than it was last season. UMBC should contend for one of the top spots in the America East this season.
After hearing that they would be missing starting guard J.C. Show for the rest of the season the Bearcats knew someone would have to step up. The Bearcats had a couple of decent contributors, and even first team all conference pick junior forward Willie Rodriguez (6’6 220), who is still working his way back into game shape after missing time with an injury. Binghamton just didn’t have enough fire power and lacked the ability to run with the home Retrievers. Rodriguez labored down the court at times, but provided solid veteran leadership and a post presence. His crafty low post game was on display as he finished with ten points and six rebounds.
Two other solid contributors for Binghamton were guards Fard Muhammad (6’0 180) and Timmy Rose (6’1 175). Muhammad was not shy and looked to pick up the much needed scoring presence Show left behind. Muhammad finished with 16 points, four three pointers, three rebounds and two assists in 35 minutes. Rose, who stepped into the starting point guard role, set the offense well and made sure his team was going through their sets, even if they weren’t executing. He did a solid job providing leadership that a point guard should. Rose finished with 12 points, four assists, two rebounds and only one turnover in 36 minutes.
For UMBC pace was key. They are a run a gun type team when they have the advantage in the open court. They only finished with eight fast break points but that was not indicative of their frenetic pace. Led by junior shooting guard Jairus Lyles (6’2 175), who leads the team with an average of 22ppg., the Retrievers used a balanced inside out attack to keep Binghamton off balance. Lyles would help spread the floor and open up lanes for him to use his solid one on one scoring ability. He has a quick crossover that frees him from his defender and allows him to get to the rim, where he is a good below the rim finisher. Lyles is also electric in the open floor finishing breakaways by blowing past defenders and finishing layups at the rim. Lyles finished with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists.
The other big contributor on the night was senior stretch four man Will Darley (6’8 210). Darley is a prototypical stretch four player. He also has an ability to score close to the basket, but prefers to face up in post situations. Darley proved to be a mismatch all night for the Bearcats. He pulled the big guys away from the paint and really opened up the lane for his teammates. Since the defense was concerned with protecting Darley against the three, it allowed him to pump fake and go by defenders on several occasions. Darley made two three’s on the night but had chance to shoot more of them if he wanted too. Darley finished with 17 points, three rebounds and two assists.
Two other solid scoring options on the night for the Retrievers were sophomore wing Joe Sherburne (6’6 215) and sophomore forward Nolan Gerrity (6’10 235). Sherburne finished with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists. Gerrity finished with 13 points and four rebounds.
UMBC is continuing to prove why they will be a force to be reckoned with in the America East. Once Rodney Elliott is full strength, he will add another dimension for them on offense.
Binghamton will really be hurt by the loss of J.C. Show. Once Rodriguez is at full strength it will help with the scoring load, but they will need some of their young guards to continue to produce to make up for it.
Up next for Binghamton is a home game vs UMass Lowell on Sunday
Up next for UMBC is a home game vs Maine on Sunday