UMBC catches Mt. St. Mary's

Mount's 16-point lead slips away in 66-61 loss

College Basketball

February 21, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

It wasn't until there were about three minutes left at RAC Arena last night that it finally became apparent which team has spent most of the season winning basketball games and which team has not.

Despite playing sluggishly on offense most of the night and trailing most of the way, the UMBC Retrievers were still able to find the necessary last-minute reserve to overcome visiting Mount St. Mary's for a 66-61 win.

Sophomore forward Will McClurkin scored a game-high 21 points - including a 7-for-11 effort from the field in the second half - and junior guard Justin Wilson was a spark off the bench, finishing with 18 points, to help the Retrievers (17-8) regain sole possession of third place in the Northeast Conference with a 13-5 mark.

The Mount, which let a 16-point first-half lead slip away and hit only one field goal in the game's final 5:15 of play, fell to 3-22 and 2-16 in conference play.

Longtime Mount coach Jim Phelan's first words following the game: "Just another good effort down the drain."

UMBC coach Tom Sullivan said his team played only 10 minutes of solid basketball - the final five minutes in each of the two halves.

"It's a little disappointing obviously because we would like to have our game be honed," said Sullivan. "You run into these expectations where we're supposed to win and the kids hear they're supposed to win and the next thing you know everybody thinks the game is over when the tapped ball goes up. I think what we have to do is just continue our focus."

With the game tied at 55, Kareem Washington found McClurkin inside for an easy lay-in to give the Retrievers only their third lead of the game and the next time down court - their first possession with a lead - Wilson hit a jumper to push the margin to 59-55. The Mount's only field goal in the last five minutes came with eight seconds left - a too-late basket by Jason Epps - to cut the Retrievers' lead to 65-59.

"I felt like we had control of the game and, as long as we played good defense, everything would take care of itself because our offense was a little shaky and we weren't running any plays. We kept our head on defense and that kept us focused on the win," said Wilson.

Last night spelled more frustration for Phelan, who got a 20-point performance from guard Jamion Christian. He attributed missed free throws and the inability to stop McClurkin inside as the keys. "We're playing well, but we can't get over the hump to win games," said Phelan.

The Mount also got 15 points from sophomore forward Pat Atangana. It was his first game back after serving a team-issued two-game suspension for a secondary violation of a benefits rule.

MOUNT ST. MARY'S-Marvray 0-4 3-4 3, Epps 2-4 0-0 4, Rivera 2-8 1-4 5, Christian 8-11 1-2 20, Lloyd 6-13 0-1 14, Adasi 0-1 0-0 0, Carbone 0-0 0-0 0, Alexander 0-1 0-0 0, Atangana 6-11 3-6 15. Totals 24-53 8-17 61. UMBC-McClurkin 9-16 3-4 21, Mulligan 1-6 2-2 4, Feeley 0-1 0-0 0, Gogerty 1-3 0-0 2, Wallace 1-2 0-0 2, Washington 5-13 3-5 13, Wilson 7-10 2-5 18, Yates 0-2 0-0 0, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Young 3-3 0-1 6. Totals 27-56 10-17 66. Halftime-Mount St. Mary's, 33-28. 3-point goals-Mount St. Mary's 5-11 (Christian 3-4, Lloyd 2-7), UMBC 2-11 (McClurkin 0-1, Mulligan 0-1, Gogerty 0-2, Wallace 0-1, Washington 0-2, Wilson 2-4). Rebounds-Mount St. Mary's 29 (Rivera 7), UMBC 37 (McClurkin, Mulligan 8). Assists-Mount St. Mary's 16 (Marvray 5), UMBC 16 (Washington 7). Total fouls-Mount St. Mary's 18, UMBC 13. Fouled out-Rivera. Technical fouls-Rivera. A-1,322.

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