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UMBC puts away Stony Brook


The teams entered the game with identical ledgers: the same overall record, the same league record, the same four-game losing streak.

But it was UMBC which had the home court, grittier defense and hot-shooting Kareem Washington, and that combination was sufficient to provide a 72-53 America East Conference victory over Stony Brook yesterday at RAC Arena.

Abetted by a zone which clamped down on Stony Brook center Cori Spencer and forced its leading scorer, D.J. Munir, into unfavorable shooting spots, the Retrievers overcame a sluggish start with two notable spurts to win at home for the second time this season.

Washington poured in 26 points, one short of his career high, and was an instrumental figure in both UMBC runs that decided the outcome.

"This one couldn't have come at a better time," said Washington, a senior. "Our coaches call [February] position month. We have to get some wins to seed ourselves up in the conference tournament."

The victory avenged a 61-56 defeat to the Seawolves Jan. 7 when UMBC blew a 13-point lead.

"We really need to come out and establish ourselves on the home court," said Retrievers coach Tom Sullivan. "Both teams were sucking wind coming into this game and we blew a big lead the first time we played them. We handled their half-court pressure much better this time."

Munir scored 10 points as Stony Brook (6-15, 3-9) jumped ahead 24-17, but UMBC countered with a 13-0 streak fueled by John Zito's post work after Stony Brook forward Mike Konopka got into early foul trouble. Zito scored eight points during the run - six from the foul line - before Washington ended it with a three-pointer.

After a Munir bucket, UMBC (7-14, 4-8) scored the final four points of the half for a 34-26 lead.

Then, after some early trading in the second period, the Retrievers cut loose on an 11-1 tear triggered by their defense. Washington picked up three assists on fast breaks during the spurt, and capped it with a steal and dunk. The Seawolves trailed 52-33, and they never got closer than 12.

Washington, who said he has been playing on a cracked heel, wants to "turn into the guy who dishes the ball off more. I'm picking up a lot of double teams lately. I might have to be the release guy."

UMBC shot 65.2 percent from the field in the second half.

Sullivan praised freshman forward Mike Housman, who had nine points and a game-high nine rebounds.

"He was doing a great job on the offensive and defensive boards and bothering Spencer," said Sullivan. "Within the zone, he was always keeping a body on him."

Munir led Stony Brook with 14 points, but scored just one second-half basket, that with the game long decided.

STONY BROOK-Popoko 2-6 3-6 7, Konopka 1-3 2-2 4, Spencer 4-8 4-5 12, Beauford 2-6 0-1 5, Munir 6-17 0-0 14, Feist 1-3 2-4 4, Rickard 0-0 0-0 0, Orfini 0-1 0-0 0, Santiago 1-7 1-2 3, Hurley 1-1 0-0 2, Bennett 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 19-54 12-20 53. UMBC-Davis 1-5 0-0 2, Zito 2-6 6-8 10, Young 0-0 0-0 0, Gogerty 3-7 1-1 7, Pugh 1-4 3-4 5, Washington 9-15 3-3 26, Fisk 0-0 1-2 1, Dinkins 1-2 1-2 3, McJimson 4-5 1-1 9, Feckoua 0-0 0-0 0, Housman 4-8 1-1 9. Totals 25-52 17-22 72. Halftime-UMBC 34, Stony Brook 26. 3-point goals-Stony Brook 3-17 (Popoko 0-1, Beauford 1-2, Munir 2-10, Feist 0-1, Santiago 0-3), UMBC 5-13 (Davis 0-1, Zito 0-1, Gogerty 0-2, Washington 5-8, Dinkins 0-1). Rebounds-Stony Brook 28 (Konopka 4), UMBC 41 (Housman 9). Assists-Stony Brook 11 (Santiago 4), UMBC 13 (Washington 4). Total fouls-Stony Brook 21, UMBC 17. A-1,347.

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