UMBC varies strategies but drops 10th in a row Record low in 54-38 loss to Charleston Southern

January 14, 1996|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Desperate times called for desperate measures and UMBC coach Tom Sullivan tried a lot of them last night.

Shortening the game. Smallish lineups to counteract Charleston Southern's huge size advantage. Zone defenses. Weaves on offense that resembled a 1950s attack.

But all the stratagems weren't enough to prevent the Retrievers from losing for the 10th straight time, 54-38, in a Big South Conference game at the UMBC Fieldhouse.

The UMBC point total was the lowest in the school's history, beating by four the previous low set in the 1982-83 season.

Sullivan had little choice with his leading scorer and primary threat, Tony Thompson, out with a sprained ankle suffered in Wednesday's loss to Liberty.

"They showed a lot of heart, but they just don't have a lot of weapons," said Buccaneers coach Gary Edwards. "They out-rebounded us with a much smaller team and really out-played us. But we just had more to work with."

UMBC (1-12, 0-3) limited Charleston Southern to 28 field-goal attempts and had a 30-27 rebounding edge, but committed 17 turnovers.

Three of those came on 35-second shot clock violations in the second half when the Buccaneers countered with a soft defense for 25 seconds, then applied pressure.

"We didn't want o be in a running battle with this team," said Sullivan. "We've seen enough film to know they could up-tempo us right out of the building."

The Retrievers were within 36-33 with 7:23 remaining when Mark Lay, one of their most experienced players, fouled out.

Charleston Southern (7-7, 2-0) then scored 14 of the next 16 points to put away its sixth victory in the last seven games, flourishing at the foul line.

Making 28-for-35 foul shots was the difference statistically.

"When they started playing deliberately, we finally decided we had to gut it out and be patient," said Edwards, whose team is the defending conference champion.

"The clock went down many times to five seconds when they had the ball and we finally started getting stops. Then, we did a good job of hitting our free throws at the end.

Sullivan bemoaned UMBC's inability to score from in close. Center Kevin Bellinger went 2-for-10 and the team shot only 31 percent from the field, hitting 14 of 45.

"We wanted to play good defense and controlled offense and take high percentage shots," he said. "We felt we did that, but Bellinger got stuck with the ball in certain situations and fell away rather than going up strong with it."

The league's leading scorer, T. L. Latson, topped the Buccaneers with 21 points.

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