UMBC can dance! Retrievers win America East's automatic bid
Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Darryl Proctor scored 23 points and Jay Greene nailed four three-pointers, as the UMBC Retrievers earned their first- ever NCAA Tournament berth with an 82-65 victory over the Hartford Hawks in the America East Conference Tournament title game at RAC Arena.
Greene ended with 12 points while Ray Barbosa netted 14 points for the top- seeded Retrievers (24-8), who captured their first conference tournament title in school history. UMBC will enter the NCAA Tournament with wins in 12 of its last 13 games overall. The last loss for the Retrievers occurred against these Hawks in the regular-season finale of both teams on March 2. Brian Hodges added 13 points in the victory.
Joe Zeglinski scored 17 points for Hartford (18-16), which also made its first appearance in the tourney title contest but watched its season end partly due to an early 25-2 run by UMBC that it could not recover from. Michael Turner chipped in 16 points and Jaret Von Rosenberg scored 15 in the loss.
Hartford entered the second half with an 18-point deficit, but chipped away over the course of 11 minutes and after Turner connected on two shots from the foul line, the Hawks trailed by 10, 61-51 with just under nine minutes to go in regulation.
However, eight straight points by UMBC, including consecutive momentum- changing three-pointers by Hodges and Greene, put the Retrievers back ahead by a 69-51 margin. Near the six-minute mark, a costly turnover by Turner gave possession back to UMBC and Proctor's baseline jumper put the Retrievers ahead by 20, 71-51.
Hartford never seriously threatened again and the Retrievers used long possessions and help from the raucous crowd to cruise to the victory.
The Retrievers used a gigantic 25-2 run within the opening 10 minutes of the contest to gain a sizeable lead. Trailing 4-3 in the early minutes, UMBC started the surge with a Justin Fry jumper in the paint. Two field goals in a row by Proctor near the 15-minute mark made it 15-6, and the spurt continued when Greene drilled a three-pointer with 12:50 to go for a 20-6 advantage.
Cavell Johnson's bucket with under 11 minutes remaining in the half put UMBC ahead 24-6, and soon after a three-pointer by Hodges made it 28-6. Barbosa's running lay-in near the eight-minute mark gave the Retrievers a 30-8 advantage before Von Rosenberg's triple halted the onslaught and brought the Hawks' deficit back under 20, 30-11.
With over five minutes to go in the first half, Proctor connected on a turnaround inside bucket that increased the margin to 34-11. Over the course of the remaining first-half minutes, Hartford began to show signs of life, but UMBC maintained consistent scoring and took a 41-23 lead in the locker room.
In 22 prior seasons of conference action, the Hawks had never finished higher than third place. The Retrievers also defeated eighth-seeded Stony Brook and fifth-seeded Vermont prior to this victory...These teams split a pair of one- point decisions during the regular-season. Hartford still leads the all-time series, 6-5...This contest, played on UMBC's floor, culminated the Retrievers' record at home this season at 13-1...UMBC shot 9-of-18 from beyond the arc.
03/15 14:18:07 ET
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