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UMBC blows out Rider, 94-79


LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. -- The University of Maryland Baltimore County shot a season-high 58.3 percent from the field yesterday to shock Rider, 94-79, and climb into a tie with the Broncs for first place in the East Coast Conference.

All five starters -- four juniors and a sophomore -- scored in double figures for the Retrievers, 6-1 in the conference this season and nine for 10 in ECC games dating to last season.

"This is the best game we've played in the four years I've been here," UMBC coach Earl Hawkins said. "I can't say enough about our defense and the way we executed the offensive system. We finally put two halves together."

Derell Thompson led the Retrievers with 22 points, backed by two teammates with career-high scoring performances -- Dana Harris, 16, and Melvin Swann, 14. Sonique Nixon, the team's leading scorer/rebounder, is recovering from a hip pointer and played 17 minutes in a reserve capacity, ending with two points and three rebounds.

Harris had five points to spark an 11-3 run, as the visitors broke away from a tie at 21 midway through the half. The bulge was 46-35 at the half, and it went to 61-47 on a layup by Thompson with 13 minutes, 46 seconds left.

The Broncs got within 82-77 on a basket by Darrick Suber with 1:41 left, but the Retrievers stretched it out again, making seven of eight free throws the rest of the way.

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