UMBC strikes blow for 3-dom Saunders' shooting leads 102-98 win

February 16, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

Radford's Doug Day recently set the NCAA Division I record for three-point shots made and attempted. But last night at UMBC, it was Retrievers guard Skip Saunders who put on a three-point shooting exhibition.

For the second game in a row, Saunders tied a school record with seven three-pointers -- the third time he's done it in his career -- and scored a team-high 26 points, as UMBC held off Radford, 102-98, at the UMBC Fieldhouse.

It was the first win over Radford for UMBC, which had lost to the Highlanders in five previous meetings. The Retrievers improved to 9-13, 6-7 in the Big South, and Radford dropped to 12-14, 6-7.

It was definitely more than the Skip Saunders Show for UMBC, which had its highest-scoring game of the season in its attempt to gain some momentum going into the Big South tournament. Sophomore forward Kevin Bellinger, making his fourth start, scored a career-high 17, and reserve guard Spencer Ferguson had a career-high 19 points.

Also contributing were center Sonique Nixon (15 points, 11 rebounds), forward Brian Watkins (14 points) and point guard Dana Harris (10 assists).

For Radford's Day, it was a day to forget. The senior guard, who was averaging 17.6 points going in, finished with four points. Day was two of 10 from the field, and missed all six of his three-point attempts while being guarded by Saunders much of the night.

"I was told to just stay with him and not to help," Saunders said. "I tried to deny him every chance I could and a lot of times stepped out on him. It was a team effort."

A team effort wasn't able to shut down Saunders. Day started out on Saunders and was burned early, as UMBC's 6-foot guard hit three three-pointers in the first two minutes of the game. The Highlanders threw a box-and-one defense and other defenders at Saunders with little success.

"It feels good, even though I missed a lot of open shots," said Saunders. "I'm getting open shots. I owe a lot to my teammates."

And his teammates owe a lot to him. With Saunders hot early -- five of his three-pointers came in the first half -- Radford had to extend its defense in an attempt to stop him. That opened up the middle, and UMBC's starting front line made 15 of 28 field-goal attempts.

"When [Saunders] is hitting like that, it helps a lot, because the defense has to play one-on-one on our inside players," said UMBC coach Earl Hawkins. "And when teams go to a trick defense, it definitely helps us."

Bellinger definitely benefited, scoring 17 on 6-for-11 shooting in 25 minutes.

"I was just working hard. It's just a coincidence it happened against Radford," said Bellinger, whose previous career high was 13 points in an 88-86 loss at Radford on Feb. 10.

UMBC lost that game despite having a 47-27 rebounding edge over Radford. In that win, the Highlanders got big games from forward Don Burgess (24 points) and center Tom Gallaher (21 points).

Last night, Burgess scored a career-high 29, and point guard Brian Schmall had a career-high 32. But that was it for the Radford offense. The rest of the team shot a combined 14 of 42. Gallaher finished with 10 points.

"They have so many weapons that you just have to stop the other guys," Hawkins said. "We didn't go out to stop Day; we were intent on not letting the others hurt us."

RADFORD -- Burgess 9-13 9-10 29, Gallaher 4-11 2-2 10, Schmall 10-16 8-11 32, Day 2-10 0-0 4, Landsdown 2-7 1-2 5, Watkins 1-5 2-2 4, Dalton 1-1 1-2 3 Travis 4-10 3-4 11. Totals 33-73 26-33 98.

UMBC -- Watkins 5-8 4-4 14, Bellinger 6-11 5-8 17, Nixon 4-9 7-11 15, Harris 0-5 3-6 3, Saunders 8-15 3-4 26, Fergusen 3-6 10-12 19, Butts 1-1 0-0 2, Scott 0-2 4-4 4, Fasaye 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 28-59 36-49 102.

Halftime--UMBC, 57-45. 3-point goals--RU 6-23 (Burgess 2-4, Schmall 4-8, Day 0-6, Landsdown 0-3, Travis 0-2); UMBC 10-20 (Saunders 7-13, Fergusen 3-4). Rebounds--RU 46 (Gallaher 12); UMBC 37 (Nixon 11). Assists--RU 17 (Schmall 8); UMBC 23 (Harris 10). Total fouls--RU 31, UMBC 24. Fouled out--none. Technicals--none. A--1,145.

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