Hodges' 36 unleash Retrievers

UMBC 86 Morgan State 72

College Basketball

November 28, 2006|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Reporter

Brian Hodges lost his jump shot at the America East tournament in New York last March.

The junior guard found it last night, just in time to pour in a career-high 36 points and lift UMBC to an 86-72 victory at Morgan State that got the Retrievers to .500 heading into December.

Hodges thrived in the sixth man role from the day he arrived at the Catonsville campus. Off the bench, he was the Retrievers' second-leading scorer last season, 33 coming in a first-round victory over Stony Brook at the conference tournament.

Between the ensuing 2005-06 finale and the first three games of this season, however, Hodges was 6-for-32 from the floor and made just one of 15 three-pointers. He played within himself in a rout of Lafayette, warmed slightly at Michigan last Saturday, and was his old unconscious self at Hill Field House.

Hodges scored 15 points in the first half. He entered the second with UMBC clinging to a four-point lead, and proceeded to score 10 straight points for the Retrievers, on a three-pointer, a runner, another three and a bank shot off a long offensive rebound.

His three-point play with 5:52 remaining put UMBC ahead to stay, 65-62.

"That," Hodges said, "was a long time coming."

Hodges missed eight of nine shots in a loss to Loyola that dropped UMBC to 0-2, but his outburst evened its record at 3-3.

"I tell Brian all the time, when he shoots the way he's capable, he's as good as anybody in our league, he's as good as anybody in the country," coach Randy Monroe said of the Upper Marlboro native. "Sometimes I have to jump him, because I believe he can do that all the time."

UMBC also got a fine game from sophomore point guard Jay Greene, as the America East Player of the Week had seven assists, directed an offense that committed just six turnovers and scored 15 points, including a 30-footer with five minutes remaining that deflated the Bears' comeback hopes.

Morgan State outscored the Retrievers 21-6 over a five-minute stretch to take a 33-24 bulge with 4:05 left in the first half, but fell to 0-5 for first-year coach Todd Bozeman.

"We seem to give guys career nights against us," Bozeman said. "We definitely took steps as a program, but we have to teach them how to play when they're ahead."

The Bears took their early lead with center Boubacar Coly in foul trouble. They applied pressure, scored in transition and spread the floor, as it seemed like all five Bears were beating their man off the dribble. Senior guard Joe McLean led four players in double figures with 14 points.

paul.mcmullen@baltsun.com

UMBC-Eshietedoho 0-2 0-2 0, Housman 4-9 2-2 10, Greene 3-9 6-6 15, Pugh 4-8 1-3 9, Young 2-5 3-4 7, Seaborn 3-4 1-4 7, Spadafora 0-0 0-0 0, Hodges 10-18 10-12 36, Fry 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 26-56 25-35 86. MORGAN STATE - Timus 3-5 7-9 13, Coly 2-4 1-2 5, Green 1-5 1-1 3, McLean 6-14 0-1 14, Smith 5-10 2-3 13, Branch 0-2 0-0 0, Holmes 4-8 0-0 11, Aujla 1-2 0-0 2, Berkley 2-2 1-4 5, Hightower 0-0 0-0 0, Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Barnes 2-4 1-1 6. Totals 26-56 13-21 72. Half-Morgan State 38-36. 3-point goals-UMBC 9-18 (Hodges 6-9, Greene 3-7, Pugh 0-2), Morgan State 7-19 (Holmes 3-6, McLean 2-5, Barnes 1-1, Smith 1-3, Aujla 0-1, Branch 0-1, Green 0-2). Fouled out-Aujla. Rebounds-UMBC 35 (Housman 8), Morgan State 32 (Smith 7). Assists-UMBC 14 (Greene 7), Morgan State 12 (Barnes, Timus 4). Total fouls-UMBC 18, Morgan State 28. A-967.

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