Matt Spadafora double his previous career high, scoring 18 points on seven-of-eight shooting in the win over Hampton.
The UMBC menís basketball team used another strong second half performance, scoring 51 points in the final 20 minutes in an 83-65 win over visiting Hampton at the RAC Arena. The Retrievers improved to a 12-game, Division I best 8-4 on the season, while Hampton dropped its fourth straight and slipped to 5-6.
With injuries to forwards Justin Fry (New Bloomfield, Pa.) and Uwem Eshietedoho (Miramar, Fla.) , the Retrievers only dressed seven scholarship players, but five UMBC players scored in double figures to lead the rally. Senior forward Cavell Johnson (Fort Washington, Md.) paced the Retrievers with 19 points and added 15 rebounds, which tied a career high, while sophomore forward Matt Spadafora (Richboro, Pa.) sparked the hosts with a career-high 18 points on seven-of-eight shooting.
Hampton senior guard Rashad West led all scorers with 20 points.
UMBC started sluggishly, missing nine of its first ten shots, as Hampton started the game on a 10-0 run. The Retrievers whittled the lead down as the half progressed, tying the score for the first time at 30-all on a Spadafora fast break lay-up with 1:55 to play in the half. The Pirates took a 34-32 halftime lead, as the Retrievers made only three of 14 shots from behind the arc against the extended Hampton zone.
But the Retrievers had already erased three halftime deficits to win this year and they caught and passed the Pirates six minutes into the second stanza. Hampton led, 47-43 with 14:58 to play, when UMBC started a 15-0 run which propelled them to a 58-47 advantage five minutes later. Spadafora put the hosts up for good with a three-pointer with 14:03 remaining at 48-47 and then UMBC scored four straight shots in the paint to take control. Junior forward Darryl Proctor (District Heights, Md.) keyed the surge with two field goals, a free throw and a pair of helpers.
UMBC built the lead to 13 points at 62-49 with 7:43 to play, when Hampton made a final effort to regain the advantage. They scored the next eight points of the game, capped by a long three-point field goal by Vincent Simpson to come within 62-57 with plenty of time (6:42) remaining. After both teams missed on the next possessions, Proctorís layup halted the Pirate rally and they would not come within six points the rest of the way. The Retrievers, the nationís ninth-best free throw shooting team (77.3%) entering the game, hit 11 of 12 in the final 3:34 to seal the victory.
Johnson recorded his third double-double of the season and rejected four shots, while junior guard Jay Greene registered 11 points (8/8 free throws) and 11 assists to post his second career double-double. Spadafora doubled his previous career-best scoring performance, while Proctor and senior guard Ray Barbosa (Allentown, Pa.) added 15 points apiece.
Eshietedoho, a six-foot-eight junior forward, will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a fractured right tibia in the second half of the game against West Virginia on Saturday, Dec. 15, while Fry, a six-nine sophomore forward, suffered a sprained left ankle in the first half vs. the Mountaineers and is considered week-to-week with the injury.
However, UMBC outrebounded the larger Pirate squad, 41-35 and committed only six turnovers against Hamptonís trapping full-court defense.
UMBC extended its home court winning streak to seven and ten of 11. The Retrievers return to action next Saturday, Dec. 29 with a late morning affair at 2007 national finalist Ohio State.