UMBC halts Washington rally, 88-76

December 06, 1992|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

It wasn't easy or pretty, but the University of Maryland Baltimore County broke into the victory lane last night.

The Retrievers never fully shook off a scrappy Washington College team until the final minute, finally pulling away with free-throw shooting for an 88-76 victory at the UMBC Fieldhouse.

"They're a tough team to play because they have a lot of perimeter scorers," UMBC coach Earl Hawkins said of the

Shoremen. "The game was never really out of reach until the end. But we'll take it."

Division III Washington (2-3) was within 39-37 at the half despite committing 14 turnovers, then slipped as many as 17 behind twice (68-51 and 76-59) before mounting one final run.

The Shoremen were still within 84-76 when leading scorer Peter Basel hit the final three of his game-high 30 points with less than a minute to go.

Then Hawkins went to the spread, Washington was forced to foul and Brian Watkins and Matt Butts scored the final four points from the line.

"I thought we played 40 minutes," said Washington coach Tom Finnegan. "We hit a couple of tired spots when we gave up second shots, but I was pleased with our initial defense."

The Shoremen limited UMBC's starting front line of Artie Walker, Watkins and Sonique Nixon to 16 shots and generally contained the deeper, quicker Retrievers inside.

"We got the ball inside a ton of times in the first half and just didn't finish," lamented Hawkins. "That kind of deflates you. You blow shots, your heads tend to fall and then you're a little less intense on defense."

The transition game was another story. UMBC (1-1) received an excellent game from senior point guard Dana Harris (17 points, 6 steals) and some unexpected help from peripheral players like Butts, a transfer from Hagerstown Junior College, who pitched in 11 points.

"We feel that somebody can step up and give us scoring like that on any certain night," said Hawkins.

In the second half, it was the Shoremen who ran down.

"They got a lot in transition while we scrambled," said Finnegan. "That happened often during those tired gaps. We ran into spots where we just couldn't catch up to people.

The eagerness of the Shoremen showed in the rebounding, where they had a 50-44 edge with Geoff Rupert grabbing 12 and Darren Vican, 11.

But UMBC countered by shooting 57.1 per cent in the second half, largely because of its superior speed.

The victory preserved the Retrievers' record of never having lost a home opener since they became a Division I team seven years ago.

And it pushed Hawkins past John Frank into second place on the school's all-time victory list with 47. Billy Jones, who was in attendance for an alumni game beforehand, is the leader with 134 coaching wins.

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