Housman scores 20 as UMBC ends skid

Hodges adds 19 in 2nd half to spark rally

UMBC 67 Boston U. 63

February 19, 2007|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun reporter

All UMBC did yesterday was post what is probably the biggest win of Randy Monroe's three-plus seasons as the Retrievers' coach.

Winless in February and down by seven in the second half, UMBC got a late lift from senior forward Mike Housman and junior wing Brian Hodges to beat Boston University, 67-63, and stabilize the Retrievers' situation in the America East standings.

A fifth straight loss would have prolonged a skid that could have sent UMBC to another conference play-in game.

Instead, the Retrievers (10-17, 6-8) got to six wins for the first time in their four seasons in America East. Third-place Boston University (11-15, 8-6) had the highest Rating Percentage Index of any team the Retrievers have beaten this season.

Another win over Maine on Thursday, in the home finale at RAC Arena, would put UMBC in prime position to play in the 4-5 game at the conference tournament in Boston March 3.

Did all that make it the best win of Housman's college career?

"It's memorable, that's for sure," he said. "We've got another home game, but it was Senior Night, and you want to go out on top."

Housman delivered a career-high 20 points, the final four at the free-throw line in the last 19 seconds, all while recovering from flulike conditions that caused him to miss a road trip for the first time, Thursday's loss at Hartford.

"I want to try to keep him sick the rest of the year," Monroe said.

Chris Pugh, the other UMBC senior, got in the grille of Tyler Morris, as the Terriers' top scorer and the most accurate three-point threat in the America East missed all five of his shots.

Pugh was 2-for-10 from the field but had the guts to take and make a 15-footer from the right side that created the ninth and final tie, at 59.

UMBC hadn't reached that many points in a month, but Hodges, who scored all 19 of his points in the final 15 minutes, made sure the Retrievers didn't cave again. He hung in the lane for the go-ahead basket with 3:35 left, then produced what proved to be the winning points, a three-pointer from the right side with 1:32 remaining for a 64-59 lead.

The Retrievers knew it was their day when freshman Justin Fry turned his back on a pass from point guard Jay Greene (eight assists) with 35 seconds left, and the Terriers couldn't capitalize on the turnover.

UMBC hadn't made better than 40.8 percent of its shots in the past seven games, but it hit 56.0 percent in the second half and 50.0 percent for the game. At the other end, the Retrievers limited Boston University to one field goal in the last five minutes.

With high-profile transfers such as Darryl Proctor (Coppin State) and Cavell Johnson (James Madison) sitting out this season, there have been games when the Retrievers were in a holding pattern, but not yesterday, which ended with laughter spilling out of their locker room.

"This is not a very emotional team," Monroe said. "This is a great win, but it won't mean as much if we don't build on it."

paul.mcmullen@baltsun.com

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