No. 18 Fla. State's size dwarfs UMBC, 109-80 Dunbar's Cassell sets pace with 31

December 29, 1992|By Eric J. Lyman | Eric J. Lyman,Contributing Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- UMBC coach Earl Hawkins said i would take a solid game from the guards for the Retrievers to have a shot against No. 18 Florida State last night.

Hawkins got the solid guard play that he wanted but in the person of Baltimore native and Florida State point man Sam Cassell of Dunbar, who burned UMBC for 31 points in a 109-80 romp.

The loss was the Retrievers' second straight, both against Top 25 teams.

"How do you stop a guy like that?" Hawkins asked. "When somebody on the other team is shooting and passing like that, you know you're in for a long night."

The game was sloppy and tight in the first half, as the teams combined for 23 turnovers and UMBC repeatedly cut the lead to two points. Cassell scored 19 of his points in the first half to keep Florida State ahead.

After falling behind by 12 early, the Retrievers came back to 37-35 on a Dana Harris jumper with 3:02 left in the half.

But the Seminoles closed the half with a 10-2 run for a 47-38 lead, and UMBC couldn't get within five points again.

The victory was the 250th for Florida State coach Pat Kennedy.

In the Retrievers' last game two weeks ago, they gave then-No. 11 Syracuse a scare before losing, 93-86, at the Carrier Dome.

"It'll be nice to play a team more our size," Hawkins said. "Playing against the big guys is good experience, but it can be depressing, too."

But against the Seminoles, the Retrievers (3-3) trailed by as many as 30, shot just 38 percent from the field and were out-rebounded 48-34.

Florida State matched its highest score of the season to improve to 7-3.

"They just had more players, more depth," said UMBC center Sonique Nixon, who scored a team-high 21 points. "In a fast-paced game, that really shows. That's what happened tonight."

Artie Walker and Skip Saunders joined Nixon in double figures, with 12 and 11, respectively.

Cassell led four other Seminole players with double figures, including sophomore Bob Sura, who had 23. Every Florida State player who dressed for the game scored.

One Seminole who didn't dress was pre-season All-America selection Douglas Edwards, the team's second-leading scorer, who injured a finger in warm-ups and may be out for two weeks.

For Cassell, the homecoming of sorts served as motivation.

"I play against some of these guys over the summer, and I know some of them from high school," he said. "You always want to play better when you know the other players."

UMBC next plays at St. Francis (Pa.) on Jan. 2.

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