Down 12 with 1:25 left, UMBC triumphs in OT Lay scores 11 in :52

freshmen step up, 73-67

January 28, 1996|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

UMBC and Coastal Carolina each came into last night's game at UMBC Fieldhouse winless in conference play and sharing the Big South basement.

But the two teams played as if a championship were at stake, as the Retrievers -- down by 12 points with 1:25 remaining in regulation -- won in overtime, 73-67, before a crowd of 1,127.

Junior forward Marc Lay (18 points) led the comeback for the Retrievers (3-15, 1-6). Held scoreless in the first half, he crammed 11 points into the final 52 seconds of regulation, including three three-point shots.

Lay's last three-pointer tied it at 61 with six seconds left. The Chanticleers (4-11, 0-7) called time and worked the ball to junior forward Ben Avery (19 points). But Avery's 15-footer bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

"I just tried to stay calm and relaxed," Lay said.

Said first-year UMBC coach Tom Sullivan: "We're usually a good shooting team from the perimeter, but I didn't really want to have us wait until the last minute before they started dropping."

With three of his starters fouled out in regulation, Sullivan had to rely on three freshmen -- shooting guard Michael van Veen, center Eric Poiesz and forward Lenny Barber -- in overtime. All three made critical plays.

Van Veen scored the first four points in overtime for a 65-61 lead that the Retrievers never relinquished. With the score 69-65, the 6-foot-10 Poiesz rejected a driving shot by Avery.

But Barber, a Baltimore Sun All-County selection from Annapolis, was particularly impressive. Limited to 45 minutes of playing time this season, the 6-8 Barber had five points and four rebounds in the final four minutes.

"Barber did an outstanding job for us," said Sullivan. "I've been on him a lot lately to step up his play."

Said Barber: "It's been frustrating not getting more playing time. That's why I had to take advantage of this opportunity. I've always been a good rebounder, and I just concentrated on making my free throws when I got fouled."

Lay's outside shooting in the final minute of regulation turned an almost certain loss into a victory.

The Retrievers, who trailed 25-9 after 14 minutes, made only one of 11 three-point attempts and 26 percent overall from the field in the first half, which finished with Coastal Carolina leading 31-21.

"Their 1-3-1 trapping zone rattled us into taking quick shots in the first half and they were really executing well on offense," Sullivan said.

But with UMBC trailing 58-47 and 59 seconds remaining, senior guard Tony Thompson, the team leader at 20.2 points a game who was held scoreless in the first half, ignited the comeback with a three-pointer.

Lay followed with consecutive three-pointers and made two free throws to close to 60-58 with 22 seconds left. After Avery made one of two free throws, Lay banked home the tying three-pointer.

0 "This was a win we really needed," said Lay.

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