Mulligan, Washington power UMBC to semis

Retrievers pull away, knock off R. Morris, 85-76

March 02, 2002|By Brian Towey | Brian Towey,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

NEW YORK - As if the UMBC men's basketball team needed any extra incentive heading into the Northeast Conference tournament, a roster peppered with native New Yorkers made last night's quarterfinal game against Robert Morris a homecoming.

Thanks to the perimeter punch provided by two players with New York roots, Peter Mulligan and Kareem Washington, the Retrievers (20-8) rolled to an 85-76 opening-round win over Robert Morris at Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y., earning a date with Quinnpiac in today's semifinals.

Mulligan and Washington each connected on three second-half three-pointers and both hit from deep during a 10-0 Retrievers run that stretched UMBC's advantage to 59-49 with 10:40 left to play.

After the Colonials (12-18) handcuffed Mulligan with double teams and physical defense in the first half, he broke loose for 15 of his 20 points in the second half.

"I felt like I wanted to go on a little bit of a run by myself in the second half," said Mulligan. "And bring us back [in the game]."

Four free throws by Mulligan with less than four minutes remaining kept held the Retrievers' cushion at nine, 77-68, with 3:01 left to play. Robert Morris would come no closer than eight.

It was the timely boost provided by Washington, however, that staggered the Colonials.

"Washington stepping up the way he did was the determining factor in their win," Robert Morris coach Mark Schmidt said. "We knew Mulligan would get his points, but didn't realize [the impact Washington would have]."

With over half UMBC's roster claiming New York as home, many players were anxious to distinguish themselves in front of family and friends.

"I was really looking forward to coming home to play," said Mulligan who also had eight rebounds. "It definitely gets you excited."

Will McClurkin added 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting for UMBC, which was 9-for-15 from beyond the arc.

In drawing Quinnipiac, which upset host and second seed Wagner on the other side of the bracket, UMBC will face another team with deliberate style of Robert Morris.

"Our starting five is playing very well and we're very confident right now," said Mulligan. "We believe in ourselves, and I believe that we can [win the tournament]."

ROBERT MORRIS-Thomas 5-7 6-7 21, Smith 4-8 3-6 11, Richburg 5-11 0-0 14, Ellis 4-9 7-9 15, Bacon 2-8 1-1 6, Carter 0-2 0-0 0, Fluellen 0-3 3-4 3, McCrommon 1-4 4-4 6, Darden 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-52 24-31 76. UMBC-Mulligan 6-14 4-4 20, Young 0-1 1-2 1, McClurkin 7-11 1-2 15, Washington 5-9 6-10 20, Gogerty 0-2 2-2 2, Wilson 3-5 3-4 9, Wallace 1-4 2-3 5, Yates 3-5 5-9 11, Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Feeley 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 26-53 24-36 85. Half: UMBC, 34-31. 3-point goals: RM 10-22 (Thomas 5-6, Richburg 4-6, Bacon 1-6, Fluellen 0-1, McCrommon 0-1, Carter 0-2); UMBC 9-15 (Mulligan 4-6, Washington 4-7, Wallace 1-2). Rebounds: RM 35 (Bacon, Smith 5); UMBC 35 (Mulligan 9). Assists: RM 13 (Ellis 5); UMBC 18 (Wilson 6). Total fouls: RM 30, UMBC 26. Fouled out: Smith, Ellis, Bacon, Yates. A: 2,057.

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