The No. 5 University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team took No. 4 University of Maryland, Baltimore County down to the wire in Saturday’s America East quarterfinal, but the inability to make big shots in key moments ultimately did in the Wildcats as they lost 73-67.
UNH (15-15, 8-8 AE) trailed 66-64 following a three-pointer by Marque Maultsby at the 1:28 mark of the second half but never got any closer than that two-point deficit.
UMBC’s (16-16, 8-8 AE) RJ Eytle-Rock made it a four-point game 24 seconds later with a pair of free throws and after UNH’s Jayden Martinez missed a layup on the Wildcats’ next possession, he was unable to convert the front end of a one-and-one that would have at least made it a one-possession game with 45 seconds still to play.
UNH was forced to play the foul game and lost as K.J. Jackson went 5-of-6 from the line over the game’s final 40 seconds. His first two put the Retrievers up 70-64, and following Chris Lester’s 1-of-2 showing from the line with 29 seconds left, Jackson sank two more to give UMBC a seven point lead. UNH’s Sean Sutherlin cut it to five with two free throws of his own, but Jackson salted the game away with one more freebie with 19 seconds left.
UNH shot extremely well from beyond the three-point arc, finishing 11-of-28 (39.3%) as a team, but the Retrievers were just better in other areas. They dominated down low in scoring 38 points in the paint (20 more than the Wildcats); owned the advantage in fast break points (17-2) and made nine more free throws on 10 more attempts than UNH did.
Sutherlin paced UNH with 19 points, 13 rebounds and five assists while Jackson had 20 points, four boards and two helpers for UMBC, which held a 32-31 advantage at halftime.