Retrievers rally for victory

Down 2 at break, UMBC scores 51 in second half

UMBC 83 Hampton 65

December 23, 2007|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special To The Sun

UMBC certainly looked as if it hadn't played in a week during the first half of yesterday's game with Hampton. The Retrievers missed 11 of their first 12 shots, never found rhythm on offense and were fortunate to be trailing by two points at halftime.

But UMBC took command in the second half. The Retrievers stepped up their intensity, turned the game into a track meet and scored 51 points en route to an 83-65 victory over Hampton before 1,762 at RAC Arena.

Hampton (5-6) took a 10-0 lead in the first few minutes. UMBC, which improved to 8-4, its best start in 22 years in Division I, began to shoot better after the opening minutes and slowly cut the Pirates' lead to 34-32 at the break.

The Retrievers, who hadn't played since last Saturday, seemed to gain momentum when 6-foot-8 senior forward Cavell Johnson made a leaping one-handed put-back at the buzzer.

"It could have been worse," UMBC coach Randy Monroe said. "We had a nice conversation at halftime, just to let the guys know that, hey, you're a better basketball team. But in the second half, we were much better."

The Retrievers dominated in the second half. They stepped up the tempo and used a 15-0 run midway through the half to take the lead and later scored 16 of the game's final 20 points to outlast Rashad West (game-high 20 points) and the Pirates.

"In the second half, our focus was bringing it to them," Johnson said. "In the first half, we kind of rocked back on our heels a little bit. We just wanted to come out and take [command]."

Five Retrievers scored in double figures to end a two-game losing streak. Johnson led the way with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Matt Spadafora came off the bench to score a career-high 18 points. Darryl Proctor (15 points), Ray Barbosa (15 points) and Jay Greene (11 points, 11 assists) all contributed.

UMBC dealt with several problems in this game. The Retrievers dressed only nine players because of injuries. Uwem Eshietedoho (broken leg) and Justin Fry (sprained ankle) were out; leading scorer Brian Hodges got only five points; and foul trouble kept Proctor out for a long stretch in the first half.

Proctor sparked UMBC in the second half by scoring 13 of his 15 points. Barbosa, who stepped in at point guard in the second half when Greene picked up his third foul, directed the game-changing, 15-point run.

HAMPTON-West 6-14 7-10 20, Smalling 6-9 3-7 15, Freeman 4-6 0-0 8, Simpson 2-8 2-2 7, Woodard 2-6 0-0 5, Tunnell 2-4 1-2 5, Harrison 1-4 1-1 3, Brooks 1-2 0-0 2, Easterling 0-0 0-0 0, Pehoua 0-0 0-0 0, Sumner 0-0 0-0 0, Ntoko 0-1 0-0 0, Robinson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-54 14-22 65. UMBC-Johnson 6-12 7-10 19, Spadafora 7-8 1-2 18, Proctor 7-13 1-1 15, Barbosa 5-17 2-2 15, Greene 1-3 8-8 11, Hodges 2-13 1-2 5, McKnight 0-0 0-0 0, Massey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-66 20-25 83. Halftime-Hampton, 34-32. 3-point goals-H 3-13 (Simpson 1-6, Woodard 1-2, West 1-4, Brooks 0-1); UMBC 7-22 (Barbosa 3-10, Spadafora 3-4, Greene 1-3, Hodges 0-5). Fouled out-H-None; UMBC-Proctor. Rebounds-H 35 (Smalling 7); UMBC 41 (Johnson 15). Assists-H 10 (Smalling, Woodard 3); UMBC 22 (Greene 11). Total fouls-H 18, UMBC 21. A-1,762

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