UMBC answers foe's rally with one of its own

UMBC 72 Stony Brook 57

College basketball


As UMBC watched its game-high 15-point lead shrink to just four over the span of four minutes in the second half, the Retrievers responded the way they had all night when they needed to - by putting together a run.

Just as it had on several occasions last night, UMBC stepped up at the right moment and held off a comeback by Stony Brook, 72-57, at RAC Arena in the America East opener for both schools.

"It says a lot about our team," UMBC coach Randy Monroe said of the 11-4 run midway through the second half. "We didn't wilt, especially when Stony Brook made a serious run and cut that lead to [four points]. I think our pressure picked up a little bit."

Three Retrievers - John Zito (16 points), Mike Housman (15 points) and Jerrell Dinkins (13) - scored in double digits, which Monroe felt was a big difference. In addition, Monroe said that Jay Greene's seven points - all free throws - off the bench in the second half was pivotal in UMBC's effort to close it out down the stretch.

As was the case in the second half, the Retrievers used a run in the opening half to help build a 12-point lead at the break. Thanks to Housman, who scored the first seven points for UMBC (3-4, 1-0 America East) and led all scorers at the break with 13 points, the Retrievers were able to go on a 17-5 run midway through the first half to open a close game.

The Sea Wolves (0-5, 0-1) were trailing by three when Baltimore native Mike Popoko blocked a Zito shot and Antwan Hardy hit a three-pointer to tie the game for the first and only time at 9 with 15:22 left. The Retrievers got hot from there, going on a 10-2 run to take a 19-11 lead and after Stony Brook's Hendrik Feist hit a three-pointer to make it a five-point game again, 19-14, UMBC went on a 7-0 run to go up 26-14 - its largest lead of the game at that point and the same margin it would take into the break.

UMBC shot 52 percent from the field in the second half, and even though Stony Brook heated up in the second by shooting 48 percent, its 34 percent performance in the first half attributed to the early deficit from which it couldn't recover.

Former McDonogh School star Popoko, who earned All-County, All-Metro and All-state honors while playing in Maryland, led the Sea Wolves with 17 points. He also chipped in with three blocked shots and five rebounds.

STONY BROOK - Popoko 7-13 2-2 17, Goba 1-2 0-0 2, Cox 1-4 0-0 2, Noble 1-1 0-2 2, Feist 2-9 0-0 5, Hardy 5-12 0-0 12, Santiago 4-10 0-0 10, Bamiro 0-0 0-0 0, Bakinde 3-5 1-1 7, Cunningham 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 24-58 3-5 57. UMBC - Dinkins 5-10 2-2 13, Zito 7-10 2-3 16, Housman 6-9 3-6 15, Pugh 2-5 4-4 9, Hodges 0-7 1-2 1, Greene 0-3 7-8 7, Seaborn 0-0 0-0 0, Bilal 3-5 0-0 7, Young 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 25-51 19-25 72. Halftime- UMBC, 35-23. 3-point goals-Stony Brook 6-23 (Santiago 2-2, Hardy 2-8, Popoko 1-4, Feist 1-8, Cunningham 0-1), UMBC 3-12 (Dinkins 1-1, Pugh 1-2, Bilal 1-3, Zito 0-1, Greene 0-2, Hodges 0-3). Fouled out-Bakinde, Feist. Rebounds-Stony Brook 30 (Popoko, Santiago 5), UMBC 35 (Zito 7). Assists-Stony Brook 9 (Santiago 5), UMBC 19 (Greene 8). Total fouls-Stony Brook 20, UMBC 12. A-2,122.

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