CANMORE, Alta. — Last season, the UMBC Retrievers made a run to the semi-finals of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, thanks in large part to the play of guard Jairus Lyles.
Fast forward to the 2017-18 season, and the native of Silver Spring, MD is up to his old tricks in his senior season. Lyles has helped guide the Retrievers to an 8-5 start through the first five weeks of the season, and they’ve now won four of their past five games after a perfect 2-0 week.
He missed three games at the end of November and into December, but UMBC was able to go 2-1 without him. In the four games since Lyles’ return to the lineup, the Retrievers are 3-1.
This past week, Lyles posted his second 31-point performance of the season on Tuesday. He followed that up with another big performance on Sunday against a favourite in the Horizon League.
For his efforts over the past seven days, UMBC senior guard Jairus Lyles is the College Court Report Player of the Week for December 11-17, 2017!
Coming off a loss against the Towson Tigers to close a three-game road swing, the Retrievers played host to both the Coppin State Eagles and Northern Kentucky Norse this past week. The Eagles came to the RAC on Tuesday, while the Norse made the trip on Sunday.
Against the Eagles, the Retrievers used a big first half to take a 14-point lead at the break. They held off Coppin State in the second frame, and held down home court with an 81-74 victory. Lyles hit five three-pointers on the day, finishing with a game-high 27 points to go along with six rebounds and a pair of assists.
Lyles finished the game shooting 6-of-11 from the floor, and 10-of-12 from the free throw line, in 29 minutes off the bench.
On Sunday, the Norse came to town in a battle of two teams who are on the rise in their respective conferences as the New Year quickly approaches. It was a much closer affair for the Retrievers, who had to sweat it out right down to the final buzzer. Northern Kentucky had a shot to win the game, but their last-second attempt fell by the wayside, and UMBC held on for the 76-75 win.
For the second time this season, Lyles went for 31 points. Lyles added in two rebounds and six assists in the victory, while going 9-of-21 from the floor and 10-of-13 from the free throw line.
Lyles also posted 31 points against the Arizona Wildcats in a 103-78 loss back on November 12th.
Over the two games, Lyles averaged 29.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game, while shooting a combined 15-of-32 (46.9%) from the floor and 20-of-25 (80%) from the free throw line.
UMBC is now 4-1 since Lyles made his return to the lineup after a three-game absence, and the Retrievers are a legitimate threat in the America East this season. Lyles is a veteran guard who knows how to score. He impacts the game on both ends of the floor, and is one of the best scoring guards in the country that not many people talk about.
For his efforts this past week, a stretch of two games that saw the senior lead his team to a pair of wins on their home floor, UMBC guard Jairus Lyles has been selected as the College Court Report Player of the Week for December 11-17, 2017!
– T. Bennett
Dec. 4 – 10, 2017: Fatodd Lewis, UT Martin Skyhawks
Nov. 27 – Dec. 3, 2017: Martez Walker, Oakland Golden Grizzlies
Nov. 20 – 26, 2017: Zach Thomas, Bucknell Bison
Nov. 13 – 19, 2017: Femi Olujobi, North Carolina A&T Aggies
Nov. 10 – 12, 2017: Geno Crandall, North Dakota Fighting Hawks
**College Court Report Player of the Week recipients are selected from teams in the following conferences:
America East, Atlantic Sun, Atlantic 10, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Conference USA, Horizon League, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot League, Southern, Southland, Summit League, SWAC, Sun Belt, West Coast, and WAC