EMMITSBURG - Mount St. Mary's needed the game to stay alive in the race for the final berth in the Northeast Conference tournament. UMBC needed it for the reassurance that it could win without three of its regulars.
In the end, the Mount prevailed, outlasting the undermanned but gritty Retrievers, 82-74, in overtime at Knott Arena last night in a game started by seven freshmen.
The victory was the 828th of Mount coach Jim Phelan's storied career, tying him with Clarence "Bighouse" Gaines for third on the all-time list.
Mount St. Mary's (9-12, 4-8 NEC) exploited UMBC's short bench in the first half to take quick control of the game. Forced into a zone to avoid later foul trouble with only seven players in his rotation, Retrievers coach Tom Sullivan watched Mount guard Landy Thompson light up the scoreboard with 23 first-half points.
Thompson hit 7 of 13 from three-point range during the assault as the Mount had a 12-point lead at the break.
But with no one having accumulated more than two fouls, Sullivan went to a box-and-one defense in the second half, with Kareem Washington chasing Thompson all over the court.
That confused Mount St. Mary's and the Retrievers countered with inside might and transition baskets to shoot in front by as many as six points nearing the stretch.
With freshman Kiel Butler scoring almost all the big baskets at crunch time, the Mount countered Washington's six straight points and had a chance to put the game away with 17 seconds left.
But freshman Chris Sumner, who had made 18 in a row from the line, misfired on a foul shot and Washington drove to the tying basket with three seconds to go in regulation.
UMBC (6-15, 4-8) never led in the overtime. Butler made the first two Mount baskets and four free throws put it away.
"It was a great effort by them, coming up here short-handed as they were," said Phelan. "They made all the shots they had to and got the mileage out of the players they had. They were very patient."
UMBC-Zito 6-7 7-9 19, Hatcher 7-12 2-4 16, Young 3-3 2-3 8, Washington 6-14 1-2 15, Dinkins 3-8 3-4 10, Snyder 1-1 0-0 2, Williams 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 28-49 15-22 74. MOUNT ST. MARY'S-Butler 5-10 4-7 14, Cook 2-13 0-0 6, Dodson 4-7 3-5 11, Thompson 10-20 4-5 31, Sumner 5-11 0-1 13, Atangana 0-3 2-2 2, Carbone 0-1 0-0 0, Christian 1-6 2-2 5. Totals 27-71 15-22 82. Half-Mount St. Mary's, 45-33. 3-point goals-UMBC 3-7 (Hatcher 0-1, Washington 2-3, Dinkins 1-3), Mount St. Mary's 13-42 (Butler 0-3, Cook 2-11, thompson 7-15, Sumner 3-8 Carbone 0-1, Christian 1-4). Fouled out-Dodson. Rebounds-UMBC 36 (Zito 9), Mount St. Mary's 34 (Dodson 12). Assists-UMBC 17 (Washington 8), Mount St. Mary's 21 (Sumner 7). A-1,098.