Central Conn. tops UMBC in ECC cellar game, 68-57


An announced crowd of 833 got what it could expect last night from two teams with a combined five wins going in -- a sloppy display of basketball.

When the battle for the East Coast Conference basement was over, Central Connecticut had defeated University of Maryland Baltimore County, 68-57, at UMBC Fieldhouse.

DTC The Blue Devils (4-17, 2-5) ended a two-game losing streak with their first road victory of the season. The Retrievers (2-20, 1-7) dropped their fifth straight.

"We just didn't show up -- that says it all in a nutshell," UMBC coach Earl Hawkins said. "We just weren't mentally or physically ready to play.

"We showed up tonight like we've never seen a basketball. Losing getting to us? We're a young team, and these guys are coming back next year. It shouldn't be that way."

How bad was it? After Skip Saunders scored on UMBC's first possession 39 seconds into the game, the Retrievers went 10 minutes, 19 seconds before their next field goal, a layup by Derrick Reid.

The Retrievers shot 26.3 percent for the half on 5-for-19 from the field -- the same number of field goals hit in 45 seconds by a fan participating in a halftime contest.

Central Connecticut wasn't faring much better. The Blue Devils, who abandoned their Loyola Marymount style of offense after starting the season 1-16, shot just 37.9 percent (11-for-29) from the field, but it was good enough for a 26-17 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Retrievers missed nine shots and committed three turnovers in their first 13 possessions. A bank shot by Melvin Swann six minutes into the half ended the drought, but by then UMBC trailed, 37-18.

Even with their leading scorer, Obet Vasquez (23.1 points per game -- first in the ECC) playing only 13 minutes after spraining an ankle early, Central Connecticut had little trouble handling UMBC, building leads as big as 28 points.

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