UMBC’s loss to No. 13 Albany may not have been a surprise, but the team’s setback to Binghamton was.
In that game, the Retrievers (7-6 overall and 3-2 in the America East) lost a 6-4 lead at halftime and were outscored 9-1 in the second half en route to a 13-7 loss. So who do they get in an America East tournament semifinal on Thursday at Stony Brook? Those same Bearcats (7-7, 4-1).
UMBC coach Don Zimmerman acknowledged that the team was eager for a rematch with Binghamton, but he warned against revenge taking over preparation.
“I think it’s natural that when you play a team for the second time in a season when they beat you, you want to turn the tables,” he said on Monday. “I think hat’s just natural in sports. I would say that our guys have a lot of respect for Binghamton. They handled us at their place. You’ve got to be careful about using the word ‘revenge’ because sometimes that can get in the way of being effective or productive. So it’s not about revenge. It really is about having another opportunity to play in a postseason tournament and having an opportunity to play an opponent who we know is good because they proved it and to test ourselves against a quality opponent.”
When the teams meet on Thursday, more than three weeks will have passed since their April 6 contest. The Bearcats may have changed what they do on offense or defense since that game, but Zimmerman said he doesn’t foresee changing much in the Retrievers’ scouting reports.
“At this point, you maybe tweak some things and make some small adjustments, but at this point in the season, it’s all about playing your game as well as you can play it with minor adjustments for the opponent,” he said. “If all of a sudden we decided to re-invent the wheel and change a bunch of stuff, we’d be doing our team a disservice. It’s about them going out there and playing with pride and determination and hustling for 60 minutes and seeing at the end of the game how we fared.”