UMBC bounces back with balanced victory

After tough loss, hosts top Fairleigh Dickinson, 81-70

January 29, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The way UMBC men's basketball coach Tom Sullivan sees it, if no one player or two is going to step up on a regular basis, he'll give everyone a chance.

Last night, it was junior guard Justin Wilson's turn to take the lead role, with a strong supportive cast enabling the Retrievers to handle visiting Fairleigh Dickinson, 81-70, in front of 1,413 at RAC Arena.

The Retrievers got a game-high 18 points and six steals from Wilson; 14 points from Will McClurkin and 10 each from Andrew Feeley and Malik Wallace in a favorable reponse after Saturday's heartbreaking 78-73 double-overtime loss to Monmouth.

Sullivan gave quality minutes to all 11 of his players and each contributed against the Knights, who went eight minutes without a field goal in the first half.

"We're young and we lost a double-overtime game and my fear was that we would come in here and be hesitant and we wouldn't have the confidence that we needed to attack," Sullivan said. "In this game, if you're not attacking, the other team is attacking you and you can't wait for a win to come."

So the Retrievers, now 11-7 overall and 7-4 in the Northeast Conference, went out and got it last night with good help defense and a balanced offense.

With an 8-7 lead early, the Retrievers first pulled away during the Knights' eight-minute drought without a field goal, taking a 29-12 lead on a layup from Ron Yates with 3:57 left in the first half.

The Knights (3-17, 3-8) continually tried to pound the ball inside to 6-foot-10 center James Felton with mixed results. He finished with 16 points, but was limited to 7-for-18 shooting and was always surrounded by Retrievers.

One final push from the Knights came in the final minutes, but the Retrievers put it away at the free-throw line, getting two from Wilson and two more from Rob Gogerty.

The cure for Saturday's tough loss was getting back on the court.

"We were pretty mad about that because you hate to go that long in a game and come up empty," said Wilson, who had five points in the first-half spurt. "But we figured you can't get it back, it's in the past, so we had to look toward the next game and that was Fairleigh Dickinson. We came out and played hard."

Sullivan, whose Retrievers will travel to Sacred Heart on Saturday, will continue to count on his depth.

"I think that's one of the things we've always tried to accomplish here. We know that when kids get in there, they're ready to step up and play and it's a question of dividing the minutes," he said.

FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON-Bomayako 2-7 0-0 6, Hammond 3-8 0-0 6, Felton 7-18 2-6 16, Whitaker 2-9 0-2 6, Sunkins 3-6 0-0 6, Chavez 0-0 0-0 0, Peterson 5-6 1-1 11, Mattox 4-5 1-2 11, Edwards 2-2 4-6 8. Totals 28-61 8-17 70. UMBC-McClurkin 7-14 0-1 14, Mulligan 1-7 2-2 4, Feeley 4-4 2-3 10, Gogerty 2-8 3-4 8, Wallace 3-10 3-4 10, Washington 3-4 0-2 7, Wilson 6-9 4-6 18, Yates 3-4 0-0 6, Snyder 0-1 0-0 0, Williams 2-3 0-0 4, Young 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-64 14-22 81.

Halftime-UMBC 38, FD 28. 3-point goals-FD 6-20 (Bomayako 2-5, Hammond 0-1, Felton 0-2, Whitaker 2-8, Mattox 2-3, Sunkins 0-1), UMBC 5-14 (Mulligan 0-1, Gogerty 1-4, Wallace 1-3, Washington 1-1, Wilson 2-3, Yates 0-1, Snyder 0-1). Rebounds-FD 31 (Felton, Mattox 5), UMBC 45 (Feeley 9). Assists-FD 16 (Whitaker, Mattox 4), UMBC 22 (Gogerty 8). Total fouls-FD 16, UMBC 19. Fouled out-None. Technical fouls-None. A-1,413.

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