No one can ever say UMBC didn’t deserve to be here. The first 16 seed to beat a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament may have lost, but the Retrievers proved their worth after another gritty performance in Charlotte.
UMBC fought bravely, but in the end, Kansas State put an end to the Cinderella run with a crushing defensive performance. The Retrievers’ hot shooting from their upset over Virginia did not follow into the Round of 32. Friday’s hero Jairus Lyles scored 12 points but was 4-of-15 from the field and 1-of-5 from three. Kansas State wasn’t much better offensively, but it was enough to knock out the would-be upsetters with a 50-43 win.
With Dean Wade, Kansas State’s leading scorer, out for the third consecutive game, UMBC got off to a dream start defensively. The Wildcats went scoreless for the first six minutes of the game, giving the Retrievers a chance from the opening tip. But while Kansas State’s poor shooting was excellent, the Retrievers only managed a 7-0 run of their own, which put a damper on the proceedings. Bruce Weber’s team was locked-in on defense in the first half. UMBC was stuck on 14 points for what seemed like an eternity. Kansas State chipped away and eventually took a 25-17 lead with just under two minutes left in the first half. UMBC got it to 25-20 before halftime. Neither team was shooting the ball well.
In the second half, UMBC continued to play well above its pedigree. The game turned into a bit of a slugfest, but the Retrievers were definitely still in it. Despite the entirety of their offense after the 18:46 mark coming from two threes from Maura and a three from Max Curran, UMBC found itself down 32-31 at the under-12 timeout.
Although UMBC had several chances to take a decisive lead, Kansas State took a 42-37 lead to the under-4 and managed to hang on. Xavier Sneed made a pair of huge buckets in the closing stages. UMBC just couldn’t hit shots near the end, and Kansas State advanced.
At least UMBC continued to dunk on terrible Twitter accounts:
Why does recognizing a women's basketball team upset you? https://t.co/xNHj3N8U71— UMBC Athletics (@UMBCAthletics) March 19, 2018
But in the end, it was a great season for the Retrievers and we enjoyed watching this weekend’s performances. UMBC ends its season with a 25-11 record, an America East title, and a line in the history books forever.
Well, it was fun y'all. KState may have won (50-43), but we hope to have won your hearts.— UMBC Athletics (@UMBCAthletics) March 19, 2018