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RETRIEVERSí TAKE TOP SEEDED VERMONT DOWN TO THE WIRE ON SENIOR NIGHT IN CATAMOUNT COUNTRY
Rob Gogery's nine points and five assists paced UMBC on Thursday night.
The UMBC menís basketball team (9-17, 4-13 AE) took the University of Vermont (21-5, 16-1) down to the final minute of the game on Senior Night in Vermont as the America East Conference leader Catamounts with stood the Retrievers for a 66-61 victory. Vermont weathered four Retrievers scoring in double digits as the Catamounts entered the game already having clinched the top seed for the America East Conference Tournament (Mar. 4-6 at Binghamton).
UMBC trailed 63-61 with under a minute to play and possession of the ball as John Zitoís jumper went off the basket but was corralled but Chris Pugh on the offensive glass and dished out to Rashad Bilal. Bilalís open look also just missed off the rim and went off of Zito out of bounds in a scramble for the rebound with 26 seconds on the clock.
Taylor Coppenrath, who was one of a number of seniors honored on Senior Night, sealed the win with two converted free throws with 20 seconds remaining to make a two possession game. Coppenrath finished with a game-high 30 points including a 16-of-18 performance as the charity stripe.
UMBC led 54-44 after Zitoís fast break jumper inside the paint extended UMBCís lead back to double-digits with 11:07 remaining in the second half.
UMBC would tie the game at 55-55 and 57-57 but never regain their lead as
Rashad Bilal and Zito each connected on baskets to bring UMBC back within one at 62-61 with 3:39 on the clock but would go 0-for-5 down the stretch with chances to tie or take the lead.
In the first half UMBC broke a stretch of five lead changes and three ties during the first 10 minutes of the game as Brian Hodges buried a three-point basket with 9:56 to play in the first half , giving UMBC their third lead of the game at 19-18.
UMBC built a nine-point lead with a 14-6 run capped off by a fast break lay-up by Rob Gogerty off a steal from Pugh and a trey by Gogerty at the 5:31 mark to put UMBC ahead 33-24. The Retrievers advantage would increase to 38-26 on a three-point field goal by Pugh before heading into the half with a 40-32 advantage. UMBCís 40 points is the most points scored in the first half by UMBC against a Division-I opponent this year.
The Retrievers were 6-of-10 from outside the arc in the first half and went 10-of-11 from the free throw line as they held
Brian Hodges led UMBC with 13 points while Andrew Feeley, who fouled out with five minutes remaining in the game, Rashad Bilal and John Zito all finished with 10 points. Rob Gogerty scored nine points with five assists.
Coppenrath tallied 30 points with seven rebounds and T.J. Sorrentine scored 11 points.
The Retrievers return to action when they play their final game of the regular season on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 4 p.m. as UMBC hosts