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Men's Basketball Clinches America East Regular Season Title Before Record Crowd, 71-68 over UNH in Overtime
UMBC senior guard Ray Barbosa (
The win guarantees that the Retrievers (20-7, 12-2) will compete in the post-season for the first time in the school’s 22-year Division I history. The regular season titlist automatically qualifies for the National Invitational Tournament. In addition, should UMBC advance through the quarter and semi-final round of the league tournament in two weeks, they would host the league title game on March 15 (ESPN2).
“I envisioned this not just tonight, but after last season,” an emotional head coach Randy Monroe said. “I knew with the young people coming back and those sitting out, if we gave it up for each other, we could be in this position. I can’t tell you how proud I am.”
But the Wildcats (8-19, 5-10) held off UMBC’s celebration far into the night and silenced the record crowd with 16 three-point field goals. Freshmen Tyrone Conley’s long left corner three with 17 seconds remaining sent the game to extra time tied at 57 after UMBC senior guard Ray Barbosa (Allentown, Pa.) gave UMBC a lead with a 30-footer at the 1:42 mark.
UMBC never trailed in overtime. After Barbosa hit a runner on the opening possession, junior guard Jay Greene (
“We all are great friends and want to see each other do well,” said Barbosa. “That chemistry has gotten us over the top and it’s resulted in 20-7 so far.”
Four other Retrievers scored in double figures. Junior forward Darryl Proctor (
“It was a great atmosphere tonight as it has been all season,” said Greene. “We want to thank the students and the community for their great support.”
After taking an early 19-9 lead, a suddenly-rattled Retriever team missed its next 10 field goal attempts and fell behind, 28-27 at halftime. The Wildcats built the lead to as many as seven points in the second half, but won for the seventh time this year (7-6) when behind at intermission. Conley’s three-pointer with 5:46 to play put UNH ahead, 54-47, but UMBC would score the next ten points, capped by Barbosa’s shot with 1:42 remaining.
UNH freshman guard Alvin Abreu was also outstanding, scoring 18 points for the visitors.
The 20 wins ties the most in UMBC’s 22-year Division I history. The 2001-02 team finished the campaign at 20-9. UMBC has won eight straight, its longest winning streak since an 11-game skein in the 1998-99 campaign. The Retrievers are 13-1 at home, its most ever home victories at the Division I level.
Johnson and senior guard Brian Hodges (Upper Marlboro,
The crowd of 3,712 broke the mark set on Feb. 21, 2004, when the UMBC-Maine regular season finale drew 3,664 spectators. Three of the top six crowds in school history have occurred this season.