UMBC hits Wagner with late run, races to easy 91-73 victory

Retrievers blitz 'Hawks with a 36-13 ambush

January 21, 2001|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Delays came often during UMBC's 91-73 victory over Wagner last night in a Northeast Conference men's basketball game.

So it made sense that the Retrievers (8-7, 5-4 NEC) waited until the final eight minutes to finish off the Seahawks (9-7, 5-4) with a 36-13 spree.

Five players finished in double figures for the Retrievers, who benefited from Wagner foul trouble inside to shoot 65 percent from the field in the second half.

Will McClurkin, who had three fouls in the first half, rebounded to score 16 second-half points en route to a game-high 21.

"We were down by two or four points at halftime," said McClurkin, referring to his team's 36-34 deficit at the half. "I was frustrated, so I figured that I should go hard."

UMBC's wearing down of Wagner wasn't the only thing that went off late. The scheduled 7 p.m. tip-off was delayed until 7:10 because of lighting problems at the Retriever Activity Center. Then a halftime game between two youth league teams ran long and left both college teams with a shortened warm-up period before the second half.

Wagner, which had won five of its past six, seemed absent for the first five minutes in giving up a 12-0 lead. The Seahawks missed their first eight shots and looked poor on defense.

"Fundamentals and defense come into play when you're on the road," said Wagner coach Dereck Whittenburg, whose team was led by Courtney Pritchard's 14 points. "We'd been fortunate to win some games at home, but it shows up on the road. I knew that we didn't understand what we needed."

Kennedy Okafor, who finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for UMBC, kept a close check on Wagner's best player, forward Jermaine Hall, who entered the game averaging 18 points. With Hall cold, the Seahawks didn't score until Dedrick Dye came off the bench to hit a three-pointer at the 14:33 mark.

Wagner made several charges and narrowed UMBC's lead to 25-23 on a Teoine Carroll layup with 4:45 remaining. The Retrievers responded with a Eugene Young basket and kept their lead between four and seven points for the next two minutes before the Seahawks went on an 8-0 run to end the half with a 36-34 lead.

"We gave up a lot of easy baskets," McClurkin said. "There were a lot of mental breakdowns. We have to work on that."

The teams stayed close in the second half. Wagner's largest lead came with 11:43 remaining when Pritchard's three-point play put his team ahead, 54-48.

The big blow for Wagner, however, came when Hall fouled out with 7:23 left, following fellow post player Chris Jackson, who got his fifth foul with 7:54 left.

"Once those two guys stepped out, it seemed that their whole spirit died," Okafor said.

UMBC took advantage. All 36 points the team scored over the last 8:19 came from short field goals or free throws.

"We had to put the ball into the big people," UMBC coach Tom Sullivan said. "I don't know what it did to them psychologically as much as what it did for us tactically."

It was the second straight big win for the Retrievers, who had lost five in a row before rallying from 10 down to beat Sacred Heart earlier in the week.

Okafor said that his team must learn not to depend on good fortune for victories, as it now sits in the middle of the conference race.

WAGNER - Jefferson 0-4 0-0 0, Hall 3-5 7-8 13, Pritchard 5-11 3-3 14, Klauder 4-8 0-0 12, Dye 3-8 1-1 9, Wyatte 4-7 1-1 9, Edwards 0-4 0-0 0, Jackson 2-7 2-2 6, Carroll 4-9 1-2 10. Totals 25-63 15-17 73. UMBC - McClurkin 9-10 3-4 21, Mulligan 7-14 2-5 16, Okafor 3-7 5-8 11, Wilson 1-3 1-1 3, Ward 1-7 10-10 13, Giddens 3-4 7-7 14, Yates 0-1 1-2 1, Martin 2-4 1-3 5, Williams 0-1 5-6 5, Young 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 27-52 35-46 91. Halftime - Wagner, 36-34. 3-Point goals-Wagner 8-22 (Klauder 4-8, Carroll 1-2, Dye 2-7, Pritchard 1-4, Jefferson 0-1); UMBC 2-10 (Giddens 1-2, Ward 1-5, Mulligan 0-1, Wilson 0-2). Fouled out-Hall, Jackson. Rebounds - Wagner 29 (Wyatte 6); UMBC 38 (Okafor 10). Assists - Wagner 14 (Dye 6); UMBC 18 (Mulligan 5). Total fouls - Wagner 30; UMBC 17. A - 1,242.

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