UMBC defeats Loyola for 3rd Div. I win in row Retrievers roll to 77-62 victory

February 18, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

The similarities were eerie.

The coach of the struggling Division I program was entering the final year of his contract, and his top player was suspended and eventually left school.

Earl Hawkins wants the parallel between Loyola and UMBC to end there. His Retrievers handled the Greyhounds, 77-62, before 908 fans and an abundance of empty seats at the Baltimore Arena last night, and while Loyola is headed to a last-place finish in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference under interim coach Joe Boylan, Hawkins thinks that his team is peaking just in time for its first Big South Conference tournament.

It was the third straight win over a Division I opponent for UMBC (10-13). That last happened in 1990-91, when the Retrievers finished an otherwise dismal season with five straight wins before losing to Towson State in the East Coast Conference semifinals.

Leading scorer Derell Thompson was suspended in the preseason, and his replacement, sophomore forward Artie Walker, has missed the last four games with a thigh bruise, but UMBC thinks it's ready to be a postseason factor in the Big South.

"Every game we win gives them more confidence, in themselves and in the system," said Hawkins. "We can still finish .500, and that's always a goal. We could finish as high as fourth place in the conference."

It's the last season of Hawkins' five-year contract. The Retrievers haven't had a winning record since his first season, but he's had to shepherd them through independent status to the ECC to the Big South.

"Nobody wants to see him go," junior guard Skip Saunders said. "I think things are really starting to go for us, and this is the right time to get going."

Loyola (2-19) began reeling when Michael Reese was suspended in November. Boylan, who has gotten over 40 applications and talked to another 30 candidates since he took over following Tom Schneider's resignation Jan. 15, finds solace in the Greyhounds' tenacity.

"If we were playing out the string, this game would have been 100-60," Boylan said.

UMBC rolled to a 23-6 lead in the first eight minutes, but foul trouble and Loyola's pace slowed the Retrievers. The Greyhounds had a chance to move within two midway through the second half, but UMBC quickly got the difference back up to 13 points. The Retrievers were always in command against a team that doesn't have sufficient shooters to overcome a large deficit. It was only the second time in a seven-game losing streak that Loyola reached 60 points.

Saunders had 21 points, scoring 11 straight in the second half. Junior center Sonique Nixon had 13, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots, and Brian Watkins and Damon Tweedy had 10 apiece.

Loyola got 17 points and eight rebounds from B. J. Pendleton, 13 from David Credle and 10 from Mark Sparzak, but little scoring from the perimeter.

The Greyhounds' first basket off their offense came with 6:54 remaining in the first half, when Mike Malone fed Pendleton. Loyola's previous 14 points had come on free throws or putbacks.

UMBC, which was winning its first game at the Arena after losing to Penn State last year and Boston University two years ago, forced 20 turnovers and limited Loyola to 35 percent shooting.

LOYOLA -- Pendleton 7-18 3-6 17, Credle 3-9 7-9 13, Sparzak 2-8 6-10 10, Serikas 2-8 6-10 10, Gabriel 2-8 0-0 5, Malone 1-5 0-0 3, Owens 2-4 2-3 6. Totals 21-60 18-28 62.

UMBC -- Watkins 3-6 4-7 10, Bellinger 2-3 1-2 5, Nixon 5-8 3-6 13, Harris 2-4 2-4 6, Saunders 7-14 4-4 21, Ferguson 0-4 2-2 2, Wright 0-1 0-0 0, Butts 2-5 0-0 4, Scott 0-6 2-2 2, Fasaye 2-4 0-0 4, Tweedy 4-6 2-2 10. Totals 27-61 20-29 77.

Halftime--UMBC, 39-34. 3-point goals--Loyola 2-13 (Gabriel 1-3, Malone 1-3, Owens 0-2 Pendleton 0-2, Sparzak 0-3); UMBC 3-11 (Saunders 3-7, Ferguson 0-1, Wright 0-1, Scott 0-1, Harris 0-1). Rebounds--Loyola 39 (Pendleton 8); UMBC 44 (Nixon 11). Assists--Loyola 9 (Malone 3); UMBC 16 (Harris 5). Total fouls--Loyola 18; UMBC 24. Fouled out--Credle, Fasaye. Technicals--Fasaye. A--908.

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