Retrievers lose, but get dealt back in

Wagner loss to Quinnipiac lifts UMBC to NEC tourney, despite falling to Monmouth

February 27, 2000|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Thank heaven for Quinnipiac.

As the final regular-season games developed yesterday, UMBC needed help from a team ineligible for the Northeast Conference tournament and received the assistance before it even stepped on the court against Monmouth at the RAC Center.

Quinnipiac provided the boost by eliminating Wagner from the tournament field before the Retrievers showed they couldn't have made it on their own, dropping a droll 49-40 game that left them with the eighth and final seed.

There was not much to find encouragement in the performance of UMBC (11-17, 7-11 conference), which won the conference's regular-season race a year ago and was one of the favorites to repeat before being considerably weakened by player defections.

The Retrievers shot 30.6 percent from the field, committed 19 turnovers and submitted to a flurry of three-pointers by the Hawks after taking a 34-33 lead on a three by Terence Ward with 7: 46 remaining in the game.

With a thin bench and starting guard Justin Ward sitting alongside him in foul trouble, UMBC coach Tom Sullivan tried to buy some time in a zone defense, and Monmouth bombarded it.

"We decided to go zone because I thought we were getting a little exhausted," said Sullivan, who doesn't have the luxury of the liberal substitution plan of a year ago. "We don't have the foot speed to go out there and chase them around all game. And they swung it around and hurt us."

Monmouth's mercurial guard, Rahsaan Johnson (who played with Steve Francis at Allegany Community College), regained the lead for Monmouth (12-15, 9-9) with two free throws, then hit a three-pointer to boost the advantage to 38-34.

While the Retrievers struggled with their offense and committed three turnovers, Quin Hayes drilled two more Hawks three-pointers and added two foul shots to put the game out of reach.

The loss will send the Retrievers against top-seeded Central Connecticut in the first round of the tourney, but Sullivan isn't dismayed by that. "Once we get our legs under us, we'll be fine," he said. "We've played well against them."

MONMOUTH -- Bridgemohan 3-3 1-4 7, Hayes 3-8 4-4 13, Owens 0-0 0-0 0, Carter 0-4 0-0 0, Johnson 8-20 5-6 25, Collins 1-1 0-0 2, Crosby 1-6 0-0 2, Anderson 0-6 0-0 0. Totals 16-48 10-14 49.

UMBC -- Green 1-5 2-4 4, K.Martin 0-6 1-2 1, Okafor 5-12 0-3 10, Wilson 1-6 0-0 2, Ward 4-11 1-1 11, Washington 1-1 0-0 3, B.Martin 3-6 0-0 6, Williams 0-1 3-4 3, Kindelmann 0-0 0-0 0, Grannum 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-49 7-14 40.

Half--Monmouth 20-17. 3-point goals--M 7-25 (Johnson 4-7, Hayes 3-7, Anderson 0-4, Crosby 0-4, Carter 0-3); UMBC (Ward 2-7, Washington 1-1, Wilson 0-4). Rebounds--M 32 (Bridgemohan, Johnson 6); UMBC 42 (Okafor 12). Assists--M 8 (Anderson 30); UMBC 8 (Wilson 3). Total fouls--M 15; UMBC 8. A--1,032.

Pub Date: 2/27/00

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