UMBC scored 15 straight points in the final 4:49 last night to erase a 15-point deficit against Robert Morris, but it wasn't enough.
Robert Morris' Terrell Stuart was fouled along the baseline with one second remaining and hit a pair of free throws to lift the Colonials past UMBC, 78-76, at UMBC Fieldhouse.
The Retrievers (1-2), who had trailed for much of the game, made a spirited run at the Colonials (1-2) when the verdict seemed already decided.
A free throw by Kevin Bellinger started the Retrievers' run. When Eric Wyatt followed with a pair of three-pointers to close the Colonial lead to 76-68 with 3:02 left, the UMBC crowd came alive.
Sonique Nixon made a driving layup and a free throw and Skip Saunders added a three-pointer, trimming the deficit to 76-74 with 1:36 remaining.
After a steal, Marc Lay hit one free throw. After the Colonials missed two shots, Artie Walker added one of two free throws to tie the game with 36 seconds left.
Myron Walker, who led the Colonials with 35 points, worked down the 35-second clock until a pass inside to Stuart set the stage for the game-winning free throws.
"We got a little aggressive and went after it," said UMBC coach Earl Hawkins of his team's late surge. "We went after it a little harder. But it was partly our fault to be in that position because we had played so cautiously earlier."
The lead changed four times in the first six minutes of the game before the Colonials took command.
Robert Morris took an 11-9 lead on a three-pointer by Bubba Donnelly with just over 14 minutes left in the first half.
The Retrievers then were hit by foul problems inside as 7-foot-2 Pascal Fleury was hit with a pair of personals shortly after coming in; forward Kevin Bellinger was called for three personals just a few minutes later.
The Colonials built a 37-25 lead after a 17-foot jumper from Walker with 3:10 left in the half.
The Retrievers then ran off the next five points to cut the deficit to seven, but the visitors ran off five points of their own and led 42-32 at intermission.
The half was played at a snail's pace because of 24 personal fouls and 28 free-throw attempts. UMBC shot just 40 percent for the half, hitting only eight of 20 field-goal attempts, while the Colonials shot 61 percent (17 of 28), including seven of nine by Walker.
Walker scored 18 in the first half.
When Walker came out just as hot in the second half, hitting seven of his first eight shots to establish a career high of 35, the lead ballooned to as many as 17 points (60-43).
The Colonials held a seemingly safe lead of 76-61 with 4:49 to play when UMBC began its late run.