UMBC puts brakes on 8-game skid

Retrievers' 2nd-half surge overcomes Hartford, 68-58, in regular-season finale

February 28, 2005|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It took until the second half of their final regular-season game for the UMBC Retrievers to finally awaken from their late-season slumber. Once they did, however, it was lights out for visiting Hartford.

Trailing by five and seemingly on their way to their ninth straight loss yesterday, the Retrievers turned up the intensity on defense. They held the Hawks without a field goal for nearly 11 minutes while outscoring them 18-1 on the way to a 68-58 win before 2,170.

"We decided to press a little bit - just show a soft press and fall back into our man-to-man defense," said UMBC first-year coach Randy Monroe, whose team avenged a 26-point loss to the Hawks in January. "I thought our guys did a very good job of that in the second half."

Said center Andrew Feeley, "This just puts the confidence of another win on our backs ... going into the tournament."

The win ended a season-high eight-game losing streak for UMBC (10-17 overall, 5-13 America East), which wrapped up the ninth seed in this weekend's 10-team conference tournament in Binghamton, N.Y. The Retrievers will face New Hampshire in the opening round Friday at 6.

After looking listless in shooting just 31 percent in the first half, UMBC played like a different team after the break.

"We kind of allowed a little too much penetration and Hartford was getting some easy buckets on us," Monroe said. "We wanted to slow them down a little bit."

Led by guard Brian Hodges, who scored 11 of his game-high 14 points in the second half, the Retrievers, who trailed 33-28, began forcing Hartford to take bad shots, then turned those misses into offensive opportunities.

The Hawks (8-19, 4-14) opened the second half 1-for-14 from the field and scored just three points in the first 11:34. Meanwhile, the Retrievers began to capitalize, taking a 34-33 lead on two foul shots by Cory McJimson and extending the lead to 46-34 minutes later on a long jumper by Michael Knight.

"We came out with some energy and some intensity, and it paid off for us," Hodges said.

Guard Rob Gogerty, who along with fellow senior Feeley was playing his final home game, contributed 13 points and six assists, with just one turnover.

Hartford, which got 12 points each from Charles Ford and Brian Glowiak, made just one of nine three-point attempts in the second half after hitting five of nine in the first 20 minutes.

HARTFORD-Ruffin 2-9 2-2 6, Goode 3-8 0-0 6, Cook 4-13 0-0 10, Ford 4-10 3-6 12, Regan 1-2 0-0 2, Rembert 0-0 0-0 0, Lowndes 3-8 2-4 8, Glowiak 4-9 1-3 12, Dodge 0-0 0-0 0, Zimnickas 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-60 8-15 58. UMBC-McJimson 1-5 5-6 7, Feeley 3-4 2-2 8, Gogerty 4-8 3-4 13, Bilal 2-8 2-2 7, Hodges 4-14 3-4 14, Knight 2-4 0-0 5, Pugh 2-3 0-0 5, Davis 1-1 1-1 3, Zito 2-6 0-1 4, Housman 0-2 2-5 2. Totals 21-55 18-25 68. Halftime-Hartford 31-28. 3-point goals-Hartford 6-18 (Glowiak 3-7, Cook 2-8, Ford 1-2, Ruffin 0-1), UMBC 8-21 (Hodges 3-7, Gogerty 2-5, Knight 1-2, Pugh 1-2, Bilal 1-5). Fouled out-Ford, Regan. Rebounds-Hartford 43 (Regan 8), UMBC 38 (Housman 7). Assists-Hartford 10 (Cook 5), UMBC 16 (Gogerty 6). Total fouls-Hartford 25, UMBC 17. A-2,170.

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