On verge of title tie, UMBC loses 2nd in row; Long Island prevails, 60-59; NEC showdown tomorrow


The UMBC men's basketball team failed to clinch a share of the Northeast Conference title for the second time in three nights, losing to Long Island, 60-59, at UMBC Fieldhouse last night.

Tim Hyland missed a potential game-winner as the clock expired. The miss sealed the second straight loss for the Retrievers, who were paced by Terence Ward's 19 points.

"There were a few plays at the end where it was the luck of the draw," said UMBC coach Tom Sullivan, who joined 1,623 in watching his team shoot 38 percent from the field.

The Retrievers (17-8, 16-3 NEC) now must defeat co-leader St. Francis of New York tomorrow at UMBC if they are to claim their first conference title in 13 seasons of Division I play. St. Francis (19-6, 16-3), which beat UMBC, 87-77, earlier this week, moved into a tie for the NEC lead with an 83-70 win over Mount St. Mary's last night.

"We just have to make sure we're back on track and ready to play," Sullivan said. "It's just a matter of willing ourselves to win. I was disappointed by the way we came out at the beginning of both halves."

Karee Anderson scored five points during a 6-0 Long Island spurt and the Blackbirds (9-16, 9-10) outscored UMBC 9-4 over the game's final 6: 26 to overcome their 18 turnovers and 36 percent shooting in the second half.

The win secured a berth in the conference tournament for the Blackbirds, who needed to remain among the top eight teams.

Anderson scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half, including the final point of the game that put Long Island up with 1: 47 remaining, 12 seconds after Ward's layup tied the game at 59-59.

"I tried to deflate the importance of the game," Long Island coach Ray Martin said. "But in the back of my mind, I knew how important this game was and the players knew how important it was. I'm happy to know we're in."

UMBC jumped to an 8-6 lead with 15: 52 left in the first half on two three-pointers from Ward, but allowed LIU to score the next six.

A 7-0 run late in the half gave UMBC the biggest lead of the game at 28-20, but the Blackbirds were able to close to 31-27 at the half.

UMBC went without a field goal for nearly four minutes as LIU took a 43-36 lead, its largest. The Retrievers battled back by using a 14-4 run to take a 55-51 lead on a Hyland layup at the 6: 26 mark.

In the end, Anderson hit two free throws and his three-pointer with 5: 09 remaining gave the Blackbirds the lead at 57-55. Two Hyland free throws tied the score with 4: 52 remaining, but John Morganstern's follow of an Anderson miss gave LIU the 59-57 lead 31 seconds later.

Kerry Martin, assigned to guard Morganstern, blamed himself, but also said the team effort was a function of its complacency.

"We know we're good, but we have to come out and prove it every night," Martin said. "We just made stupid mistakes. We missed easy baskets, made stupid turnovers, took bad shots."

LONG ISLAND -- Parker 2-6 0-0 4, Morganstern 5-11 0-2 10, Smith 0-2 2-2 2, Francis 2-8 1-2 5, Anderson 6-12 5-7 20, Ansley 0-0 0-0 0, Rivera 0-1 0-0 0, Smiley 4-9 0-1 8, Frank 4-7 3-3 11. Totals 23-56 11-17 60.

UMBC -- Green 1-4 0-0 2, B.Martin 1-5 1-4 3, Grella 1-2 0-0 2, Ward 7-15 0-0 19, Harrison 2-6 0-0 5, Giddens 1-2 0-0 2, Hyland 4-14 3-4 12, Womble 0-0 0-0 0, Okafor 3-9 1-2 7, K.Martin 3-4 1-2 7. Totals 23-61 6-12 59.

Halftime--UMBC, 31-27. 3-point goals--LIU 3-12 (Parker 0-1, Francis 0-1, Anderson 3-7, Smiley 0-2, Frank 0-1); UMBC 7-22 (Ward 5-11, Harrison 1-3, Giddens 0-1, Hyland 1-7). Rebounds--LIU 42 (Smiley, Parker 7); UMBC 36 (K.Martin 8). Assists--LIU 13 (Frank 4); UMBC 15 (Harrison 5). Total fouls--LIU 14; UMBC 11. A--1,623.

Pub Date: 2/19/99

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