Princeton finally puts out flickering UMBC, 68-56

Retrievers can't build on spark in second half

College Basketball

December 03, 2003|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

It will be the early moments of the second half that UMBC might regret when looking back at its 68-56 loss to Princeton last night at RAC Arena.

At that point, the Retrievers (2-1) had their greatest momentum after digging themselves out of a 13-point gap, but then their first six shots after the break went for naught.

As a consequence - and UMBC's inability to contend with Princeton's offense - the Tigers (3-0) ran away by scoring on 11 of 15 possessions after allowing UMBC to cut the deficit to 33-28 at with 16:59 left.

"We missed a couple of shots close to the basket, even on put-backs - we were missing those, too," Kareem Washington said. "That could have given us a little boost; maybe that could have gotten the crowd into it, made them more of a factor."

In normal times, citing the crowd might have drawn some laughs, but the 3,106 who attended made up the fourth-largest crowd at the campus facility, with Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Princeton graduate, making a brief appearance.

For the first time in three games, the Tigers displayed some balance. Center Judson Wallace, who came in averaging 29.5 points, scored 16 to lead four players in double-digit scoring in ways that the Retrievers couldn't have anticipated.

Despite surrendering 56 percent shooting to Princeton, UMBC coach Tom Sullivan couldn't really fault his team's defensive effort, with few backdoor layups coming from the Tigers. Instead, Wallace converted a running hook off the glass and Scott Greenman (12 points) hit a pair of 24-foot moon shots during a 21-10 run that sunk the Retrievers.

Three-pointers by Ed Persia (11 points) and Greenman put Princeton up 54-40 with 6:38 left.

"We wanted to come out hard at them, but our shots weren't coming right away for us," said center Andrew Feeley, who shot 2-for-6 from the field. "I don't know if we got tired from fighting back."

That was the difference between the halves, with UMBC opening the game by shooting 2-for-10 to fall behind 18-5, only to recover behind the accuracy of Rob Gogerty and Washington, who finished with 14 and 11 points, respectively.

The pair was able to decongest the lane, combining for four three-pointers to cut the margin to 31-25 at the half.

But once again, the Tigers were able to retain their edge.

"For three games now, we've gotten out to leads, teams would make a run, and we've held," said Princeton coach John Thompson III. "I think that's extremely positive."

PRINCETON - Wysocki 4-6 6-6 15, Wallace 7-14 2-2 16, Greenman 5-7 0-0 12, Persia 4-6 0-0 11, Venable 1-3 2-2 4, Schafe 0-1 0-2 0, Owings 1-1 0-0 3, Ekeruo 0-0 0-0 0, Logan 0-1 3-6 3, Stephens 1-2 0-0 2, Schaen 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 23-41 15-20 68.

UMBC - Davis 4-9 0-1 9, Zito 2-8 2-4 6, Feeley 2-6 0-0 4, Gogerty 5-9 0-0 14, Pugh 0-3 0-0 0, Washington 4-7 2-2 11, McJimson 4-8 4-4 12, Young 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-52 9-12 56.

Half: Princeton, 31-25. 3-point goals-Princeton 7-17 (Wysocki 1-1, Wallace 0-5, Greenman 2-4, Persia 3-5, Owings 1-1, Logan 0-1), UMBC 5-12 (Davis 0-1, Zito 0-3, Gogerty 4-4, Pugh 0-1, Washington 1-3). Rebounds-Princeton 30 (Wallace 9), UMBC 25 (McJimson 7). Assists-Princeton 16 (Persia 5), UMBC 11 (Gogerty 5). Total fouls-Princeton 15, UMBC 18. Fouled out-McJimson. A-3,106.

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