Men’s Hoops takes the season sweep against UMBC

Justin Lockhart, Sports Editor

This time last year was a different story for Men’s basketball as they struggled to find their footing against UMBC but this time around it’s nothing but good news for the Hawks. 70-61 was the final score of last Wednesday’s victory.

The games leading scorer J.R. Lynch scored 28, with 20 of those points coming in the second half. The Hawks tailed most of the first half, as it ended 32-33 with UMBC leading. The second half was much better for the men’s squad as they outscore UMBC 38-28 in the following stanza.

UMBC’s five game winning streak was snapped with this loss but during the streak they beat out the two top teams in the conference Vermont and Stony Brook. This made this win all the more important for the Hawks in terms of seeding come playoff time. The first eight minutes of the first half were not promising for the Hawks as a few early three-pointers for UMBC helped them build an early double-digit lead. A 13-4 run over the next three minutes for the Hawks helped them cut the deficit down to one which did not change for the remaining 8:40 of the half.

The Hawks opened the second half strong scoring the first five unanswered points. UMBC eventually tied the game up at 40 apiece. Jason Dunne’s three broke the tie and the lead would not be broken for the rest of regulation. Senior J.R. Lynch came up clutch in the last two minutes making eight-straight free throws to help the Hawks secure the win and move to 19-16 all time against UMBC. J.R. Lynch made a career best of 15-16 from the free throw line and nearly beat his career high scoring being only one point short. Seniors George Blagojevic and Jason Dunne scored 13 points apiece, and the Hawks dominated on the free throw line outscoring the Retrievers, 22-11.

The Hawks made 18 of their 22 free throws in the second half helping them secure victory. Hartford enjoys a relaxing bye weekend before going against Maine on Feb. 13.