CHICAGO -- With nowhere to go but up, University of Maryland Baltimore County was intent on making a move against Loyola-Chicago yesterday. But the Retrievers could not overcome a 20-point deficit with 9 minutes, 25 seconds to play and were defeated, 82-77.
Jim Frantz scored 12 of his 22 points in the second half to help UMBC (1-10) rally from a 72-52 deficit midway through the period. The Retrievers were down by only 80-77 with 1:10 left when Derell Thompson scored after a steal, but Spencer Ferguson and Melvin Swann missed three-point shots that would have tied the score.
"Even though we lost the game, it was a moral victory," Frantz said. "In the first half, everybody was looking for everyone else to shoot. But in the second half, I decided to step up. I think we have the ability to play this way from the start if we put ourselves in the right frame of mind."
The Retrievers still are looking for someone to fill in for Derrick Reid, who is out with a viral infection and blood clot in his right knee. Hawkins said Reid will begin medical tests tomorrow and will be out at least another two weeks.
But Frantz and Thompson, who scored 14 points, showed signs of stepping up yesterday.
"Thompson played a role in filling the void," Hawkins said, "and Frantz by far played his best game of the season at both ends of the floor. We've been waiting for him to wake up."
The Retrievers dug their way out of the hole with a 19-6 run during a five-minute stretch of the second half. Hawkins' motion offense opened up repeated backdoor cuts for layups, and the Retrievers shot 59 percent (19-for-32) in the second half.
Frantz scored the first six points of the run, the last two coming on a breakaway dunk. Brian Watkins, who scored 13 points, scored seven straight, and UMBC closed to 76-69 with 4:29 to play.
"Our guys finally realized the value of running the offense," said Hawkins, whose team had been shooting 38 percent but made 53 percent yesterday. "It's been a learning process, but this is a positive thing for us."
Frantz said: "It's the same old story for us. We dug too big a hole at the beginning, and we just couldn't climb all the way out."