In Patrick Ewing's days as a player at Georgetown, non-conference games were child's play. But four decades later, with Ewing as coach of the Hoyas, they've become a 50-50 proposition.
That's good news for UMBC (3-3) as it prepares to face Georgetown (3-3) on Saturday in Washington, D.C.
The Retrievers have lost all five previous meetings, but if there's a good time to catch the Hoyas, this is it. On Wednesday, American ended an 11-game losing streak in its series with Georgetown, winning 74-70.
Afterward, the Georgetown fan site Casual Hoya called it "by most measurements, their worst loss" in Ewing's six seasons. In the last three years, the Hoyas are 11-12 in out of conference play.
"Are we going to put our head down, or are we going to be like rats and run off the sinking ship?" Ewing asked. "We brought in guys that are capable of stepping up and getting the job done."
The Hoyas start five transfers, led by Primo Spears (Duquesne), who has a team-high 16.3 points per game average. Akok Akok (UConn) leads the Hoyas in rebounds (8.2 per game) and blocks (2.3 per game).
Brandon Murray (LSU), who averages 15.4 points and a team-high 4.4 assists per game missed the American game with an unspecified lower-body injury.
UMBC also depends on transfers. Colton Lawrence, who arrived from Division II Bentley, averages a team-high 15.7 points per game.
"He's got great poise and leadership. Really versatile, can score in a multitude of ways," Retrievers coach Jim Ferry said. "He's made a major impact."
Cleveland State transfer Craig Beaudion II, who has solidified the point guard slot, made the game-winning basket with 1.8 seconds left last Sunday as UMBC rallied past Central Connecticut.
Matteo Picarelli, buried on the bench the last two years, has had a breakout in stepping into a larger role. Picarelli is averaging 13.7 points per game shooting 59.1 percent from the floor and 55.6 percent from beyond the arc.
--Field Level Media
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