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PUGH'S LATE THREE-POINT GOAL PROPELS MEN'S BASKETBALL OVER NAVY, 67-61
Baltimore, MD—Sophomore guard Chris Pugh hit a three-point goal from the top of the key with 1:13 remaining to give UMBC the lead for good, as the Retrievers (1-0) held off Navy, 67-61, in the opener for both teams before 3,122 fans at the RAC Arena.
The win was the first for UMBC Head Coach Randy Monroe, who was matched up against Billy Lange, another first-year bench boss.
Navy had erased a 14-point first half deficit and took their first lead of the game at 44-43 on a Taj Mathews three-pointer with remaining. Navy’s David Hooper extended the lead to 48-44 with to play to cap a 14-1 Midshipmen run. But UMBC battled back and forged three ties at 53-all, 56-all, and 58-all, before Navy forward Laramie Mergerson hit a jumper to give the Mids a 60-58 advantage with to play. “It was one of those games that I love being in. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys. Being in that kind of atmosphere that we had here tonight, it was exciting. I felt like I played tonight,” said Coach Monroe.
“It was one of those games that I love being in. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys. Being in that kind of atmosphere that we had here tonight, it was exciting. I felt like I played tonight,” said Coach Monroe.
But Pugh, who was hobbled early in the second half with an ankle injury, drilled the trifecta with remaining and drew a foul. Pugh missed the free throw, but freshman Rashad Bilal grabbed the rebound and senior guard Rob Gogerty hit Andrew Feeley for a driving layup to put UMBC ahead, 63-60, with 49 seconds to play.
Pugh was limping noticeably throughout the second half. "I just wanted to do it for my teammates. I just wanted to get the season started off right. I love these guys so I wanted to do it for the team."
Navy’s David Rhoiney hit one of two free throws on the Mids’s next possession, but Navy was unable to hit from the floor down the stretch and UMBC hit 4 of 6 free throws down the stretch to win their opener for the sixth consecutive year.
Cory McJimson led UMBC and he added 7 rebounds. Gogerty added 12 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists, and Pugh, who hit a career high 3 three-point goals, finished with 11 points, also tying a career best. Navy was led by Hooper’s game-high 16 points and Mergerson’s “double-double” of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
UMBC shot 42.9% from the floor, but hit just 15 of 32 free throws. They held Navy to 35.0% shooting, and forced 24 Midshipmen turnovers, but five second half three-point goals aided the visitors’ rally.
It was UMBC’s second straight win in the series, but Navy still leads the all-time series, 8-3. There were a total of 52 fouls in the contest.