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UMBC men's basketball loses leading scorer Wayne Sparrow for rest of season

UMBC's Wayne Sparrow drives by Loyola Franz Rassman during a game in November.
UMBC's Wayne Sparrow drives by Loyola Franz Rassman during a game in November. (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun)

A difficult season for UMBC has taken another bad turn.

Leading scorer Wayne Sparrow is no longer eligible to play in the 2014-15 season, the team announced Thursday morning.

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Sparrow, a first-team All-Metro selection for St. Frances in 2010, had graduated in four years with a degree in political science from Richmond and had a year of eligibility remaining. He was able to enroll as a graduate transfer for the fall semester, but UMBC said he was unable to matriculate in a particular graduate school program for the spring semester, which began on Monday, and therefore he is no longer eligible to play.

Sparrow, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound guard, was averaging 13.8 points per game along with 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists. He had started in all 20 games before being ruled ineligible and ranked third on UMBC in minutes per game (32.3).

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The loss of Sparrow hurts a Retrievers squad that has lost nine of its past 10 games to fall to 3-18 overall and 1-7 in the America East. Sophomore point guard Rodney Elliott, who had averaged 15.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists en route to being named the America East Rookie of the Year last season, tore the labrum in his left shoulder in the season opener at Akron on Nov. 14 and underwent shoulder surgery in December, ending his year.

Sophomore swingman Will Darley, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound Timonium resident who has averaged 5.1 points and 2.8 rebounds in 12 games including nine starts, sprained his knee in the first half of the team's 58-55 loss against Lehigh on Dec. 28 and has not played in the past nine games.

UMBC is also dealing with a team-imposed suspension of guard Aaron Morgan, who had averaged 5.0 points in 10 games including eight starts. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound junior is serving an indefinite suspension for violating a team rule and has sat out the last 11 contests.

The lack of bodies has forced the Retrievers to recently dress just eight players and play seven. In Wednesday's 68-56 loss to America East rival Binghamton, the team used six players and started sophomore walk-on guard Ben Grace (Gilman), who posted 17 points, five rebounds and two assists in 40 minutes.

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