Wagner lulls UMBC into 90-78 setback

Ward scores 19, blames complacency for UMBC's 3-4 start in conference

January 25, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Last year, the UMBC men's basketball team was the one screaming "no respect," the motivation for a league championship in its first season of Northeast Conference play.

Last night, the young Wagner Seahawks used the same prodding -- plus a 20-6 run to begin the second half -- to grab a 90-78 win over the Retrievers.

It would be easy and not altogether inaccurate to cite the absence of six players from last year for UMBC's 3-4 conference start, as the team usually goes six deep as opposed to the 10 who played against Wagner (7-9, 2-5).

But according to Retrievers guard Terence Ward, complacency, not attrition, is causing the team's on-again, off-again play this season.

"The biggest difference has been the team's attitude," said Ward, who led UMBC with 19 points. "Last year, we felt that teams didn't respect us, so we looked to make the first punch. Now, it takes going down five to 10 points for us to come back."

The first half served as a handy exhibit for Ward's views, with Wagner going on an 11-2 run to take a 19-11 lead. Kennedy Okafor and Kerry Martin helped UMBC (7-10) counterpunch, combining for eight of the 11 unanswered points and a 22-19 lead. Instead of sustaining that momentum, however, the Retrievers ended up down 46-43 at the half.

After the break, Wagner once again saw the 20: 00 on the scoreboard as the signal to go after UMBC, trying to earn the respect that is lacking when you went 9-18 last season, when 11 of your players are freshmen or sophomores, when you've lost seven of your last nine games.

"No one really respects us," Wagner coach Dereck Whittenburg said, his team having won against Mount St. Mary's on Saturday. "I'm sure UMBC looked at us as not being very good. They beat us three times last year, so to them, it's just Wagner. That's an edge for us."

Whether it was the edge, or the fact that Wagner hit nine of its first 11 shots, the game was over six minutes after the intermission.

Chris Jackson scored eight of his 19 points during a 20-6 run that put the Seahawks up 66-49 with 14: 18 left. They increased the pressure on the Retrievers, forcing a few turnovers and missed shots that turned into fast-break layups on the other end.

"Not one of us was able to step up and compete against their intensity level," UMBC coach Tom Sullivan said. "They made a joke out of the guys who were covering them."

In addition to Ward, Okafor had 16 points, Justin Wilson had 12 and Kareem Washington had 10.

Dedrick Dye had a game-high 20 for Wagner, while Jermaine Hall and Yves Kabore had 14 apiece.

WAGNER -- Hall 6-11 2-2 14, Jackson 6-9 7-8 19, Wilkerson 3-10 2-3 8, Kabore 4-5 2-2 14, Klauder 4-5 2-2 14, Dye 7-11 2-2 20, Edwards 0-1 0-0 0, Jefferson 0-0 0-0 0, Plummer 0-2 4-4 4. Totals 29-56 23-26 90.

UMBC -- Martin 4-5 1-1 9, Green 0-5 0-0 0, Okafor 7-13 2-4 16, Wilson 5-14 0-2 12, Ward 6-11 5-5 19, Washington 4-6 0-0 10, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Kindelman 0-0 0-0 0, Grannum 3-8 0-0 6, Martin 3-6 0-0 6. Totals 32-68 8-12 78.

Halftime--Wagner 46-43. 3-point goals--Wagner 9-18(Wilkerson 0-3, Kabore 4-4, Klauder 1-4, Dye 4-7), UMBC 6-15 (Wilson 2-5, Ward 2-7, Washington 2-3). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Wagner 33 (Jackson 8), UMBC 35 (Okafor 9). Assists--Wagner 20 (Jackson, Kabore 6), UMBC 20 (Wilson 8). Total fouls--Wagner 13, UMBC 21. A--1,047.

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