Darrick Suber enjoyed yesterday's visit to Baltimore more than his last encounter here. The Rider guard, however, would like to get even more pleasure out of the Broncs' trip to town in March.
Suber, a junior guard out of Pittsburgh, collected a career-high 35 points and five assists last night as Rider rolled to a 90-73 victory over UMBC. It was the Broncs' first win at UMBC in three tries.
In March, the UMBC Fieldhouse will be the site of what will probably be the last East Coast Conference tournament. Suber made history a year ago when he became the first MVP in tournament history not from the winning team. The Broncs fell to host Towson State in the 1991 final, but Suber had 50 points in two preliminary games to get them that far.
"This was a very big win for us," Suber said. "Coach [Kevin Bannon] reminded us earlier today, if we want to win the conference, we're going to have to do it here. We've got a lot of inexperienced players, but this is going to help us turn the corner."
In their first conference game since a Dec. 7 victory over Towson State, the Retrievers were also ending a disappointing five-game homestand. It was their fourth straight loss at the UMBC Fieldhouse, their longest winless drought at home since they moved to Division I in 1986.
"This is probably the worst game we played all year," said coach Earl Hawkins, whose Retrievers made 30.6 percent of their field-goal attempts. "We can't show up like this and expect to contend for the conference championship."
Rider got 18 points from sophomore guard Mark Wilcox and 11 points and seven rebounds from junior forward William Kinsel. Derell Thompson led UMBC with a season-high 20 points and Soni Nixon had a game-high 15 rebounds and 11 points.
Suber made a three-pointer from the left wing with 2 minutes, 52 seconds gone, but he was silent at the offensive end for the next nine minutes because of Thompson's defense. UMBC had a 20-19 lead with eight minutes left in the half, but Suber poured in nine points in less than three minutes as the Broncs went on a 10-2 run.
At the same time Suber was heating up, the Retrievers were cooling down, as they fell behind, 39-28, at the half. UMBC committed seven turnovers in the first 11 minutes, and in the next nine minutes the Retrievers got only two baskets. The Retrievers shot 25 percent (8-for-32) from the field for the half, 3-for-24 without Thompson's 3-for-5 and Dion Andrews' 2-for-3.
Rider had a 15-point spread two minutes after halftime, but UMBC cut it to 59-52 behind the long-range shooting of sophomore forward Stanley Wright. His teammates went seven minutes without a basket, however, and Suber's eight straight points and free throws from other Broncs got the gap back up to 71-56 with 5:21 left. After that, the difference was never smaller than 11.