Drexel extends UMBC's losing streak to six, 81-67

January 05, 1994|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

Their conference schedule commences this weekend, and the UMBC Retrievers could not be happier.

Last night at UMBC Fieldhouse, the Retrievers were missing three players, started a point guard who hadn't played in a month and were trying to break a five-game losing streak against a hot Drexel team.

To their credit, the Retrievers hung tough, despite horrible shooting. But in the end, Drexel (9-1) held off a determined run by UMBC in the second half, shut down the Retrievers over the last four minutes and pulled away to an 81-67 victory.

The Retrievers open their Big South schedule on Saturday at Liberty, where they hope to leave behind the memories of a frustrating 1-6 start.

They certainly don't want any more repeats of last night's offensive futility. UMBC managed only 15 field goals in 54 attempts, an anemic 27.7 percent. That included an 8-for-37 performance from two-point range.

"No excuses. We didn't execute at the offensive end. We stood around and watched the guy with the ball," UMBC coach Earl Hawkins said.

"You're not going to beat anybody shooting 27 percent. That's ridiculous. We were lucky to be in a position to win."

Amazingly, the Retrievers had a chance to win down the stretch, thanks to a pressing defense that forced 15 turnovers and foul shooting that was as sharp as their field-goal shooting was lousy.

The Retrievers hit 30 of 35 free throws, or 85.7 percent. And in the second half, when the game slowed to a crawl -- 39 fouls were called after halftime, 11 before intermission -- UMBC made 26 of 29 free throws to turn a 44-31 deficit early in the second half into a 62-58 Drexel lead with 4:55 left.

That was as close as the Retrievers would get, as Drexel made nine foul shots in the last three minutes and outscored UMBC over that stretch, 13-7.

Spencer Ferguson, making his first start since suffering a severe ankle sprain last month, led the Retrievers with a career-high 25 points, including a 13-for-14 performance at the foul line.

Four Drexel players scored in double figures, led by guard Matt Alexander (18 points). Brian Holden added 14 points, on 11-for-14 foul shooting. Forward Malik Rose shook off a slight ankle sprain in the first half to score 14 points and grab 13 rebounds. Jim Rullo scored 12.

The Retrievers started with a handicap. Pascal Fleury, their 7-foot-2 center, sat out with the flu. Forward Damon Tweedy missed the game after suffering a gashed lip that required stitches in Monday's practice. And guard Eric Wyatt was stranded by bad weather in Rochester, N.Y., after attending the funeral of a family member.

The first half was a strange one for the Retrievers. They hit six of 13 shots from three-point range, but inside the arc UMBC shot a dismal 3-for-21.

"I'm disappointed in our effort," Hawkins said. "As coaches, we have to do a better job. And the players have to do a better job of executing."

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