It was a historic upset, and the Hoos were on the wrong side of it. Virginia never led in the second half as UMBC shot 54% from the field and 50% from three, led by Jairus Lyles with an unbelievable 28 points. Absolutely nothing went right for the top-seeded Cavaliers as they became the first ever one-seed to fall to a 16-seed in the history of the NCAA tournament.
The Hoos couldn’t get into any rhythm offensively and clearly struggled in their first game without DeAndre Hunter. Virginia shot 41% from the field and a horrendous 18% from three in the game. Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome each had 15 points in the loss.
Virginia opened 0-for-3, but Isaiah Wilkins rebounded a miss in the lane by Devon Hall to get the Hoos on the board first. UMBC’s Daniel Akin answered to tie the game at two, but Ty Jerome pulled up for three to put Virginia up 5-2 early.
The Hoos struggled from the field in the first four minutes, going just 2-for-7 (29%), but had no turnovers and limited the Retrievers to just three shots and caused two turnovers.
Mamadi Diakite took one to the hole, using his height advantage and pushing Virginia’s lead to 7-3 with 14:20 left to play in the first half. A three-pointer by Jourdan Grant pulled the Retrievers within one at 7-6, and Hall missed on a three to give the Hoos a little more breathing room.
UMBC took a 9-7 lead with 11:15 left, putting Virginia behind for the first time in the game. A travel by Diakite gave the ball back to the Retrievers, but a steal and layup by Kyle Guy evened things back up. Hall was called for his second foul of the first half, sending Lyles to the free throw line where he connected on one of them to put the Retrievers back ahead.
Nigel Johnson, in off the bench, blew by his defender for an athletic reverse layup and returned the lead to the Hoos at 11-10. Johnson took it into the lane again, connecting through contact with 8:53 remaining in the first half. Jack Salt shot Virginia’s first two free throws, but missed both.
Jerome found Diakite with a gorgeous pass, and Diakite connected on the and-one opportunity. UMBC’s Joe Sherburne pulled the Retrievers back within three with a trey of their own, Johnson missed a three, then KJ Maura tied it up at 16 with 4:36 to play.
A hook shot by Salt rimmed out, and Lyles put the Retrievers back ahead with their fifth straight made three pointer. Diakite made one of two free throws, then Johnson took the ball into the lane again to tie the game back up at 19 with 2:12 remaining. Jerome came up with a steal, but UMBC knocked it free and the Retrievers were able to re-take the lead with a layup.
The game was tied again- the fifth of the game - on a Jerome jumper, and the Hoos came up with a steal. Jerome was unable to hit a three as the shot clock wound down, and the Retrievers missed one of their own at the buzzer to send the game into the half tied at 21.
Johnson and Diakite each had six points in the first 20 minutes as the Hoos shot 39% from the field and an abysmal 11% from three.
UMBC went 5-for-12 from three (42%) in the first half and 7-for-20 (35%) from the field as both Arkel Lamar and Jairus Lyles each had five points in the first half.
Virginia scored 16 of their 21 points from in the paint, and had just four turnovers in the first half. The Hoos struggled to connect on jumpers, leading to no assists in the first half and their lowest point total in a half of the season.
The second half got off to a terrible start as Wilkins was called for his third foul with 19:35 left on the clock as the Retrievers completed the old fashioned three point play. Guy air-balled a three on the next possession, and UMBC made it a six point game with another three by Sherburne.
Guy drove the lane and drew the foul, making one of two to pull within 27-22 with 18:31 to play. The Retrievers missed two bunnies, but Johnson couldn’t convert and UMBC ran out to make it a seven point game with 17:38 to play.
Jerome posted up and took on the much shorter Maura, pulling the Hoos within five, but another UMBC three from Lyles pushed the Retrievers up by eight. Another three made it a double digit lead for the underdogs as the Hoos couldn’t get anything to go.
Three free throws from Lyles put the Cavaliers down by 14, their biggest deficit of the entire season. A three-point play by Jerome cut the deficit back to 11 with 15:33 to play. Hall slipped on a run out, leading to another three by Lyles to make it 14 yet again. Wilkins missed a hook shot.
Guy hit a much needed jumper to make it 41-29 with 14 minutes left. Lyles made an easy layup to push the lead again, and Hall missed another that led to a foul called on Guy. Nothing could fall for Virginia, and UMBC made it a 16 point game at the under-12.
A Wilkins tip-in was countered with another bucket by Lyles, but Wilkins connected from a three to pull Virginia back within 13 with 9:50 to play. The defense caused a shot clock violation, but Wilkins missed a second attempt at a three and Maura hit one on the other end.
Jerome missed a three but the Hoos got the rebound and he got a second look and connected. Lyles hit another layup, but Johnson hit a three to make it a 12 point game with just over seven minutes to play.
Grant drove the lane to push it back to 14, but Guy got it back to 12 with 5:38 to play. The Retrievers just could not miss, and Jerome was called for an offensive foul with just under five minutes to play and the Hoos down 14. A steal by Wilkins and finish by Guy brought Virginia within 12 with 4:08 remaining.
Every time Virginia got a shot to fall, the Retrievers answered. Lyles was unstoppable down the stretch. It was a forgettable performance from seniors Isaiah Wilkins and Devon Hall who fouled out and had two points, respectively. Nigel Johnson ended his career with nine points in his final college game.
Virignia finished the season 31-3, but this one will hurt for a long, long time.