C. Carolina knocks off UMBC in semifinal, 66-59 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

March 06, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- There was room for only one Cinderella team at the Big South Conference tournament.

UMBC wanted to join No. 8 seed Winthrop in the Big South title game, but the sixth-seeded Retrievers' bid for a second upset in as many days was turned back by Coastal Carolina last night. The Chanticleers shut down UMBC in the second half and held on for a 66-59 victory in last night's semifinal at the North Charleston Coliseum.

Coastal Carolina (21-9) will meet Winthrop, which shocked Towson State in the first round and then handled Radford in the first semifinal, in today's title game (noon, ESPN). A berth in the 64-team NCAA tournament is the prize. It's an all-South Carolina final, and Coastal's third title game in the past four years.

The main figure in that success has been Tony Dunkin, a senior forward who's the only man in NCAA Division I history to earn conference Player of the Year honors four times. Despite being double-teamed, Dunkin had game-high totals of 23 points and 11 rebounds, but it was sophomore guard Keke Hicks who ended the Retrievers' season.

Coastal Carolina's nine-point lead was cut to 60-57 with 2:01 left by the UMBC (12-16) bench. Baskets by Matt Butts and Emmanuel Fasaye preceded a pair by Spencer Ferguson, before Hicks twice delivered with the 45-second clock running out.

A transfer from Oklahoma, Hicks drove the lane for a 62-57 lead with 1:16 left. After a basket by Dana Harris, Hicks' three-point attempt with 20 seconds left drew a foul from Ferguson that UMBC vainly protested. He made two of three free throws, and the Retrievers were eliminated in a tournament semifinal for the third straight year.

"It was a touch foul, and it's the kind of thing that wasn't called all game," Retrievers coach Earl Hawkins said. "That hurt, but we made some big mistakes earlier that gave them too many fast-break baskets, the kind we didn't want to give up."

The Retrievers had more problems at the offensive end, with the 27 points they scored in the second half a seasonal low.

Harris, the point guard, led the Retrievers with 12 points, and junior guard Skip Saunders was limited to 11, just four in the second half, when he missed all five of his three-point attempts. He had 26 in the quarterfinal upset of Campbell. Senior forward Brian Watkins had all 10 of his points in the first half.

Coastal Carolina beat UMBC by 17 and 18 points in the regular season, and the Chanticleers made 60.2 percent of their field goal attempts in the two games.

Improved defense was a key to the Retrievers' late-season surge. They had won five of their previous seven by allowing opponents to make only 41.1 percent.

They limited the Chanticleers to 32.5 percent shooting in the first half, but the winners heated up to 50 percent in the second, when the Retrievers made only 11 of 28.

Coastal Carolina used six points from Dunkin during a 14-5 spurt midway through the second half to break away from a tie at 42.

It was the final game for Harris, Watkins and Fasaye, and the 12-16 record matched the best of their careers.

Coastal Carolina's 11-game win streak began with a 91-73 victory at UMBC Feb. 8, two days after the Chanticleers' last loss, at Towson State.

Big South pairings

2` (At North Charleston Coliseum, Charleston, S.C.)

Wednesday Winthrop 101, UNC-Asheville 87


UMBC 85, Campbell 67

Coastal Carolina 79, Charleston Southern 66

Winthrop 83, Towson State 79

Radford 73, Liberty 69


Winthrop 87, Radford 69

Coastal Carolina 66, UMBC 59


Winthrop vs. Coastal Carolina, championship game, noon, ESPN

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