UMBC comes up short again, falls, 63-55

Outmanned Retrievers lose to top seed C. Conn. State

Northeast men

March 04, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

TRENTON, N.J. -- After what happened in last year's Northeast Conference men's basketball tournament, yesterday's UMBC-Central Connecticut State result shouldn't have come as a surprise.

Once again, the Retrievers were dominated for about 10 minutes and could only tread water the rest of the way during a deceptive 63-55 quarterfinal loss to the top-seeded Blue Devils (23-5).

But while last season's 82-72 semifinal defeat was about what Central Connecticut had -- a team with bigger, athletic players, and more of them -- the 16-4 run that lifted the Blue Devils yesterday was more about what eighth seed UMBC (11-18) didn't have.

In particular, the Retrievers could have used more guards. They could have used another big man, either to help in scoring or keeping Central Connecticut off the glass.

"They had more players than us," said UMBC guard Terence Ward, who led his team with 18 points. "They could maintain that energy in the second half."

So when CCSU shot 28 percent in the second half, its lead still went from three to 17 points.

That happened because already error-prone point guard Justin Wilson suffered an injury to his left shoulder on a hard foul by Central Connecticut's Corsley Edwards (Lake Clifton) just before halftime, leaving Ward as the only dependable ballhandler left for the Retrievers.

UMBC, which went seven minutes without a field goal toward the end of the first half, connected on only one during the first 5: 15 of the second. It couldn't compete on the boards either, giving up 15 offensive rebounds during the final 20 minutes.

"Corsley Edwards, he has a big body. Victor Payne and John Tice did a good job," UMBC forward Brad Martin said. "So that made things difficult."

Payne and Tice, along with Rick Mickens, did the most damage, combining for 48 points and 25 rebounds. The group, none over 6 feet 5, foiled Tom Sullivan's best-laid plans of forcing the Blue Devils to shoot from outside.

This time, CCSU hit only six of 22 from three-point range.

"We could not match up to them all game, so we hoped to make them shoot the three," Sullivan said. "We were fairly successful. The problem was that we couldn't come up with the missed shots."

The Blue Devils face St. Francis (N.Y.) in a semifinal today.

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