The University of Maryland Baltimore County will be reaching out to Baltimore through its basketball team tonight in an attempt to gain more recognition in the city.
UMBC will meet Boston University at the Baltimore Arena in a 7:45 p.m. game that will raise funds for the Baltimore Reads Foundation, also known as the Baltimore Literacy Program.
Marty Schwartz, the school's assistant athletic director for development, said yesterday that he hopes the game will draw a crowd of 5,000 and raise $5,000 for the foundation.
"This is a first-time venture for us, so you never know how it's going to turn out," said Schwartz. "We plan to make it an annual event. Next year, we're looking to bring in George Washington to play us. We might play the game in February instead of December next year."
Schwartz said UMBC President Michael Hooker hopes the annual games at the Arena will help improve UMBC's visibility.
"In order to put UMBC on the map, Dr. Hooker feels a move to the city and the Arena is good," said Schwartz. "If we play these games in the city, UMBC will become a little more community-conscious. The idea is to become more noticed in Baltimore City."
Schwartz said once the decision was made to play at the Arena, the plan to use the game as a fund-raiser followed.
"If we're going to get involved in Baltimore, we said let's put something into the city," said Schwartz.
Schwartz said 2,500 tickets for the game have been purchased by school groups and recreation programs, and the UMBC Student Government Association will be giving out pledge forms for the Baltimore Reads program.
"Baltimore is changing for the better downtown," said Schwartz. "But a lot of people still look at the Arena as the old Civic Center. They don't view it as a good place for athletic events. We hope to overcome that by bringing in good teams to play here."
:* Boston University (1-2) vs. UMBC (1-3) Site: Baltimore Arena, 7:45 p.m.
Radio: WITH (1230 AM)
TV: HTS, tape delay, noon Saturday
Outlook: UMBC is coming off two losses in the Beltway Classic, losing the consolation game, 97-81, to Mount St. Mary's Saturday night at Towson State. Derrick Reid (20.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg) leads the Retrievers. Sophomore G Derell Thompson (sprained foot) and senior G Bobby Mills (sprained ankle) are questionable for UMBC. Boston University's lone win is over Morgan State, 86-75, in the Fleet Classic in Providence, R.I. Senior G Reggie Stewart (15.7 ppg) and senior C Russell Jarvis (14.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg) lead BU.
G. Mason (1-1) at Mt. St. Mary's (1-3) eas
Site: Knott Arena, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: Mount St. Mary's won its first game, 97-81, over UMBC on Saturday night in the Beltway Classic consolation. The Mount will be without G Kevin Booth (dislocated knee cap) and G Doug John (bulging disk in back). Senior G Alex Watson (15.8 ppg, 6 rpg) and senior F John Miller (14.0 ppg) lead the Mount. George Mason has beaten Miami, 97-91, and lost to East Tennessee State, 105-92, in road games. Senior F Robert Dykes (27.5 ppg, 11 rpg) leads the Patriots.