UMBC suffers 5th straight home loss Bucknell beats Retrievers, 87-80

January 28, 1992|By Kent Baker

The game was decided before the half last night, and University of Maryland Baltimore County coach Earl Hawkins didn't like that at all.

"We have to be more committed to running our system and taking care of the ball," an upset Hawkins said after Bucknell defeated UMBC, 87-80, at the UMBC Fieldhouse.

"We were just not mentally ready to get on the floor the first half and let Bucknell do anything they wanted. Playing at home has been a nightmare, and I don't know what it is. We just weren't focused."

The Bison had 13 first-half layups and that laid the groundwork for UMBC's fifth consecutive home-court defeat, a record since the Retrievers entered Division I.

It looked so easy as Bucknell unleashed a 20-3 run to spring from a 20-16 deficit into a 36-23 lead. The Retrievers never got closer than four the rest of the way.

Hawkins had his team stay after the game to watch films and gave them a stern halftime lecture that prevented shooting practice before the second half.

"There was nothing else to do," he said. "We weren't doing anything and it was nothing they did that caused it. They'd put their arms up and we'd throw the ball into them."

The criticism helped. UMBC came out pounding the ball inside in the second half. After falling behind by 16 early, the Retrievers depended on their bulk -- Sony Nixon (6 feet 8, 215 pounds), Kevin Bellinger (6-7, 225) and Emmanuel Fasaye (6-8, 225).

With 4 minutes, 52 seconds to play, they fought back to 73-69 on a three-point play by Brian Watkins, but Bucknell closed them out from the free-throw line.

The Bison played without forward Mike Bright, their third leading scorer and second leading rebounder who stayed at school to study for a final exam in engineering.

But their crisp passing, poise and Pat King (26 points, five assists, four steals) and Bill Courtney (19 points, five assists, eight rebounds) were enough.

"We put Pat on Sony Nixon when we had to," said Bucknell coach Charlie Woollum, referring to the UMBC center who had 23 second-half points in their first meeting. "He does just about everything for us.

"In the second half, we got a little tentative after we got in fou trouble. We didn't get double defense. But we did a good job of not giving [Skip] Saunders open shots."

Saunders, the Retrievers' major three-point threat, had nin points after scoring 30 in a 103-80 victory against Buffalo and being named East Coast Conference Player of the Week.

UMBC got limited service from point guard Dana Harris, who has been bothered by pain in his right knee and leg all season. But Hawkins wouldn't blame the outcome on that.

"Of course, if he's healthy, that would help us," said the coach. "But it's going to take more than him. We can't use that as an excuse.

"We were firing up jump shots for no apparent reason. And our post people weren't moving early either."

BUCKNELL (11-6) -- Clark 2-5 0-0 4, King 8-11 10-13 26, Olkowski 6-9 2-2 14, Simpson 3-5 2-4 8, Courtney 7-18 4-6 19, Peyton 3-5 1-2 7, Brown 4-7 0-0 9. Totals: 33-60 19-27 87.

UMBC (4-12) -- Thompson 1=8 1-2 3, Watkins 5-11 3-3 13, Nixon 12-16 0-2 24, Ferguson 2-3 0-0 4, Saunders 3-10 0-0 9, Harris 3-5 0-0 7, Wright 0-8 0-0 0, Andrews 1-4 0-0 2, Swann 1-3 1-1 3, Walker 0-0 0-0 0, Fasaye 3-7 2-3 8, Bellinger 2-6 3-3 7. Totals: 33-81 10-14 80.

Halftime--Bucknell 44-33. 3-point goals--B 2-6 (Courtney 1-4, Brown 1-2) UMBC 4- 18 (Saunders 3-8, Harris 1-1, Wright 0-4, Thompson 0-3, Ferguson 0-1, Swann 0-1). Rebounds--B 38 (Olkowski 11) UMBC 44 (Nixon 15). Assists--B 20 (King 5, Simpson 5, Courtney 5) UMBC 17 (Harris 7). Total fouls--B 15, UMBC 22. Fouled out--None. Technicals--None. A--1,239.

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