Hodges' 28 points lift UMBC past N.H., 78-73

Victory sends Retrievers to America East quarters

College Basketball

March 05, 2005|By Larry Bump | Larry Bump,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

VESTAL, N.Y. - Freshman Brian Hodges scored 28 points, the most by a UMBC player this season, leading the Retrievers to a 78-73 victory over New Hampshire in the first round of the America East tournament yesterday.

Hodges topped his career-best 17 points, recorded 16 days earlier on the same floor at Binghamton University's Events Center.

New Hampshire (9-19) had defeated UMBC (11-17) in both regular-season games by a total of 28 points to earn the eighth seed. The victory earned UMBC a quarterfinal matchup today at 2:30 p.m. against top-seeded Vermont (21-6).

"We expect a good game," said UMBC coach Randy Monroe. "They're the top cats in the league.

"We don't expect our guys to quit. That's how we came into this game. And we know when you play a team for the third time it's difficult to beat them again."

Hodges' big game included 16 first-half points and the final six, including four foul shots, after New Hampshire cut a 14-point deficit to three during the final 33 seconds.

Said Monroe: "I tell Brian Hodges, `You're our J.J. Redick.' When he puts that ball in his hand, I know it's going in."

Hodges, a 72 percent foul shooter during the regular season, was 8-for-8 against the Wildcats.

"The shots just fell," said Hodges. "It was a good night for me."

Playing a big lineup with 6-foot-8 freshman Mike Christensen at guard, New Hampshire had rallied from an 8-2 deficit. Christensen, who had just seven points in the two regular-season meetings, scored nine in a little over three minutes by hitting three three-pointers and assisting on a layup by Blagoj Janev to put UNH on top 24-17.

Hodges put UMBC back ahead 30-28, and the Retrievers took a 42-35 halftime lead. Their 42 first-half points exceeded the 41 they scored in the 60-41 loss at RAC Arena Jan. 2. The biggest difference was that last night the Retrievers shot 50 percent in the first half and 47 percent for the game after shooting just 27 percent in January.

Michael Knight, who came off the bench to score 11, hit two three-pointers to boost the lead to 62-48 with 11:38 to play. New Hampshire pulled within 74-71 before Hodges took over again.

UMBC - McJimson 0-0 0-1 0, Gogerty 1-5 2-4 5, Bilal 1-6 0-0 3, Hodges 8-17 8-8 28, Feeley 5-8 2-4 12, Knight 4-7 0-0 11, Pugh 0-0 0-0 0, Davis 5-7 1-2 11, Zito 1-4 0-0 2, Housman 2-5 2-2 6. Totals 27-59 15-21 78. NEW HAMPSHIRE - Sturgill 7-8 0-0 14, Vetrano 1-6 0-0 3, Karalis 1-5 0-0 3, Walls 5-8 4-4 14, Christensen 3-8 3-4 12, Janev 6-12 5-7 20, Liddell 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 1-4 4-4 7. Totals 24-51 16-19 73. Halftime-UMBC, 42-35. 3-point goals-UMBC 9-21 (Hodges 4-8, Knight 3-5, Gogerty 1-3, Bilal 1-4, Zito 0-1), New Hampshire 9-25 (Christensen 3-7, Janev 3-7, Anderson 1-2, Vetrano 1-4, Karalis 1-5). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-UMBC 27 (Feeley 9), New Hampshire 36 (Sturgill 11). Assists-UMBC 23 (Gogerty 10), New Hampshire 12 (Christensen 4). Total fouls-UMBC 16, New Hampshire 18.

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