Mount goes distance vs. UMBC 3-pointers start to fall, dooming Retrievers, 66-58

December 02, 1997|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

Mount St. Mary's entered its game with UMBC last night shooting 25 percent from three-point range. Don't try selling that to the Retrievers.

The teams, which hadn't played since a meeting in the Baltimore Beltway Classic seven years ago, were involved in an interesting if somewhat ragged struggle near the midpoint of the second half when the visiting Mountaineers started hitting threes as if they invented them.

First, Rob Balgac hit, then Eric Bethel, Greg Harris and Bethel again. A five-point lead ballooned to 11 and the Mount was home free for its first victory of the season, 66-58.

"It's ridiculous to say it was a must game for us when we face an 18-game conference schedule later on," said Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan. "But if we were 0-4 heading out to Iowa [for the Super Chevy Shootout] this weekend, we would have been searching."

Beaten big by Maryland and La Salle and in a squeaker by North Carolina-Wilmington, the Mount's floor leader, Harris, noticed his mates "were down. We completely fell apart against La Salle at the end and doubts were building and so were questions.

"If we had lost this one, it would have been that much harder to come back."

So the sophomore from DeMatha High made sure his club would get off quickly in this one. He hit three three-pointers to lead the visitors to a 21-12 lead after 10 minutes, a happenstance that might have hurt the team a little.

"The way we got on top, maybe some of the guys got the idea this was going to be an easy win," Phelan said. "But they came back at us strong and it didn't help that we were only making one of two foul shots near the end."

UMBC got within a point a couple of times late in the first half before Harris settled things down and Mount St. Mary's hit the break with a 33-26 lead.

The Mount moved out to a nine-point lead shortly after the resumption of play before UMBC ended a four-minute scoring drought and moved within five.

UMBC coach Tom Sullivan's biggest problem "was getting a player or two in who could get their shots to drop while at the same time not giving up too much at the defensive end. It was a struggle."

Rod Harrison led UMBC with 12 points and sure-handed point-guard play, but he fouled out at about the time the Mount's parade to the foul line was in full bloom. Isaac Green had 13 points and Kennedy Okafor 12 with 11 rebounds.

Besides his 18 points and four three-pointers, Harris had 11 rebounds. And Bethel had a dozen points in his new-found role off the bench.

Speaking of three-point marksmanship, while the Mountaineers were hitting eight of 19, the Retrievers checked in with a 3-for-19 night, which has been pretty much par for them. They entered the game having hit just seven of 52 shots from afar, a 13.5 percentage.

MOUNT ST. MARY'S -- Gayle 2-4 1-2 5, Hayden 2-5 2-4 7, Van Dorpe 3-11 3-4 9, Harris 5-15 4-7 18, Conwell 4-7 0-0 8, Balgac 1-2 0-0 3, Bethel 2-5 6-8 12, Brown 0-2 0-0 0, Cook 0-2 4-4 4. Totals 19-53 20-29 66.

UMBC -- Green 5-8 3-4 13, Giddens 2-16 0-0 5, Okafor 2-7 6-6 10, Ward 2-5 0-0 4, Hyland 1-6 0-0 2, Harrison 5-12 0-0 12, van Veen 0-1 1-2 1, Womble 1-2 0-1 2, B.Martin 1-2 7-10 9. Totals 19-59 17-23 58.

Halftime--Mount 33-26. 3-point goals--Mount 8-19 (Hayden 1-4, Van Dorpe 0-3, Harris 4-6, Balgac 1-2, Bethel 2-4). UMBC 3-19 (Giddens 1-8, Ward 0-2, Hyland 0-4, Harrison 2-5). Fouled out--Gayle, Okafor, Harrison. Rebounds--Mount 40 (Hayden 11, Harris 11), UMBC 41 (Okafor 11). Assists--Mount 13 (Hayden 3), UMBC 14 (Okafor 3). Total fouls--Mount 21, UMBC 22. A--1,444.

Pub Date: 12/02/97

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