Giddens shoots UMBC over Mount in OT Freshman scores 27, sparks 79-77 triumph

January 29, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

EMMITSBURG -- UMBC is freshman-laden, prone to youthful mistakes and improving daily.

Mount St. Mary's is wounded, almost devoid of an inside presence and very reliant on its three-point shooting.

So, when they collided last night for the second time this season, it figured to be close with the Mount having a slight edge because of Knott Arena.

But the upstart Retrievers wouldn't go away, capitalizing on the hot shooting of freshman Rich Giddens and the backboard dominance of Kennedy Okafor to win in overtime, 79-77.

The nonleague victory -- UMBC doesn't join the Northeast Conference until next season -- avenged a 66-58 Mount victory Dec. 1 in Catonsville when Giddens went 2-for-16 from the field.

"I probably had better looks the first game, but I wasn't relaxed," said Giddens, who was 7-for-12 from three-point range and finished with 27 points. "Tonight, I started feeling it pretty early."

"Every open shot, he made," Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan said. "And he made a few when he wasn't open."

The final one was a turnaround jumper against close defense with 16 seconds remaining, giving UMBC (9-8) a 78-77 lead.

Mount's Eric Bethel was forced to take a shot on the run that wasn't close. Okafor (15 rebounds) grabbed the ball, then, after being fouled, hit a free throw for the final point of the game.

"We have no semblance of an inside game and it's killing us," Phelan said. "We've got all jump shooters and when the shots aren't going down we've got problems."

The Mount lofted 37 three-point attempts in the game and hit 13.

"We were fortunate Mike Brown hit a couple of tough shots down in there or we'd have had nothing inside," Phelan said.

The Retrievers could have won in regulation after three-pointers by Terence Ward and Jason Womble put them ahead, but Brown made a twisting jump shot from the baseline to tie the game.

Then, Okafor couldn't convert a layup off an inbounds play set up during coach Tom Sullivan's timeout and Bethel followed with a three-point miss, forcing overtime.

"Eric got penetration and was looking for somebody inside," said Phelan. "But I didn't see anybody there. They were all outside."

That is one of the big problems for Mount St. Mary's (8-10) in the absence of burly forward Newton Gayle, who has been sidelined several weeks with an ankle injury. Gayle is expected to return next Thursday for a crucial NEC matchup against Long Island University and Charles Jones, the nation's top scorer.

The Retrievers played almost exclusively zone to save wear and tear on their guards.

"I didn't think we could match up to their shooters and motion," Sullivan said. "With young players, you're able to set up a zone and play a position while matching up when the shooters have the ball."

UMBC -- Giddens 10-18 0-0 27, Green 1-2 0-0 2, Martin 1-1 4-4 6, Ward 4-10 0-0 11, van Veen 0-1 0-0 0, Hyland 0-0 0-0 0, Womble 1-4 0-0 3, Okafor 7-18 5-7 19, Poiesz 5-5 1-2 11. Totals 29-59 10-13 79.

MOUNT ST. MARY'S -- Hayden 7-15 0-0 18, Brown 9-15 1-2 19, Van Dorpe 4-11 4-4 14, Harris 4-14 1-2 12, Bethel 4-14 0-0 11, Balgac 1-3 0-0 3, Conwell 0-7 0-0 0. Totals 29-79 6-8 77.

Halftime--Mount St. Mary's, 38-37. 3-point goals--UMBC 11-21 (Giddens 7-12, Ward 3-6, Womble 1-3);MSM 13-37 (Hayden 4-9, Harris 3-8, Bethel 3-12, Van Dorpe 2-3, Balgac 1-2, Conwell 0-3). Rebounds--UMBC 44 (Okafor 15); MSM 36 (Van Dorpe 9). Assists--UMBC 22 (Ward 7); MSM 20 (Harris 8). Total fouls--UMBC 10, MSM 12. A--928.

Pub Date: 1/29/98

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