Cold shooting freezes out UMBC

The Baltimore Sun

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Outsized by Georgetown inside, UMBC compounded its disadvantage with a cold shooting hand yesterday. The result was evident during a seven-minute scoreless drought late in the first half.

A three-pointer by Brian Hodges with 8:08 to play in the half got the Retrievers within 18-17.

But by the time Ray Barbosa's three ended the drought with 1:06 left, the Retrievers were down 31-20 and never recovered.

Georgetown's interior size led to 30 points in the paint and affected how UMBC ran its offense.

"In the beginning, I think it was us not making shots," teary-eyed Cavell Johnson said. "But you can't get around how long and athletic that team is."

UMBC forward Matt Spadafora said it was a combination of Georgetown's height and a bad shooting night that doomed the Retrievers.

"You have to give credit where credit is deserved," Spadafora said. "But even the routine shots we normally hit weren't going in."

UMBC shot just 32 percent from the field and only 30.8 percent from beyond the arc in the game.

Room service

Playing in the NCAA tournament was such a rush that 15th-seeded UMBC and 16th-seeded Mount St. Mary's didn't mind staying in relatively second-tier hotels.

The NCAA assigned swankier digs to higher-seeded teams such as North Carolina and Georgetown- with the likelihood that those teams would win and stay in town longer.

North Carolina stayed at an Embassy Suites, and Georgetown stayed at a Sheraton.

UMBC and Mount St. Mary's were at Holiday Inns.

UMBC athletic director Charles Brown said he heard that one of the fancier hotels had an indoor waterfall.

"We don't need a waterfall," Brown said. "We just need beds. And a reception area."

Joked Jim Greene, the father of UMBC guard Jay Greene: "We're lucky they didn't stick the 15th seed on the bus."

Greene's goals

Jay Greene is an example of how precious the tournament is to many players.

Years ago, Greene had three athletic goals: to play on the same high school basketball team as his big brother, to play on a Division I team and to play in the NCAA tournament.

Greene, whose family suggests he may be smaller than the 5-foot-8 listed in the UMBC media guide, had already achieved the first two goals before he stepped on the RBC Center court yesterday to realize the third.

"He's living his dream," his mother, Denise, said yesterday, before the Retrievers played Georgetown.

Greene, from Whitehall, Pa., had about 35 fans here, including members of his family and his former high school coach.

Many wore T-shirts with the player's No. 2 on the back.

Members of UMBC's pep band chanted "We love Jay Greene" during the game.

ken.murray@baltsun.com jeff.barker@baltsun.com

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