UMBC rallies to defeat Boston U., 60-57

January 06, 1995|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Writer

After going 1-7 in 1994, UMBC started the new year on a definite upbeat, overcoming a seven-point deficit in the last four minutes last night to beat visiting Boston University, 60-57, at the UMBC Fieldhouse.

"This was just the type of win we needed to give our confidence a boost and get a little momentum going into our [Big South] conference play," said Retrievers coach Earl Hawkins, whose team plays host to Liberty tomorrow night.

And the Retrievers accomplished the job by playing tenacious defense, permitting the Terriers (5-6) only one field goal over the last 6:55.

With Boston University leading 55-46, Hawkins delivered his timely message.

"I told my guys we had to shut them down, and to get out on their perimeter shooters who were getting good looks at the basket," the coach said.

His players followed his orders perfectly, allowing only one more field goal -- a layup by center Dave Stiff (15 points) the rest of the game.

Pascal Fleury, UMBC's 7-foot-2 senior center, had one of his better efforts, scoring 10 points and blocking five shots, and sophomore forward Marc Lay (13 points, 12 rebounds) and junior guard Tony Thompson (13 points, five rebounds) were scrambling all over the floor.

Meanwhile, the Retrievers maintained their poise on offense, pecking away at the deficit, with Thompson hitting a pair of free throws and two clutch baskets in the winning rally.

Two free throws by Lay pulled UMBC to within a point at 57-56, with 63 seconds left.

Boston U. freshman Raja Bell, who had made all three of his three-point attempts in the second half, worked himself free, but missed from 20 feet with Lay grabbing the rebound.

After a timeout, Lay drove to the basket, but tossed up an air ball. Thompson was in perfect position to grab the rebound and score what proved to be the winning basket with 15 seconds remaining.

"The ball just dropped into my hands," Thompson said.

"Tony didn't have a particularly good night shooting the ball," said Hawkins, referring to Thompson's 4-for-10 effort from the field. "But he's a very aggressive guy and a strong rebounder for a guard. We had to keep going to him."

After Thompson's go-ahead basket, the Terriers called a timeout. Senior guard David Wallace came off a pick, but his 10-footer bounced off the rim with guard Eric Wyatt picking up the rebound on the baseline.

Wyatt, who played 35 minutes at the point in the absence of Eric Hayes (groin pull), was fouled with three seconds left and made both free throws.

"I've always been a good free-throw shooter, so I enjoy taking the shots in that kind of a situation," said Wyatt.

The Terriers still had a chance to tie it with a three-point shot, but their inbounds pass sailed off the hands of forward Tunji Awojobi.

"I was really disappointed in the way we played tonight," said first-year Boston University coach Dennis Wolff, a former Virginia assistant.

"We played a lot better last week in the Rainbow Classic, even though we lost to Hawaii, Duke and Oklahoma. Tonight, we just got out-hustled, and let them come up with all the loose balls and rebounds down the stretch."

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