So I decided to see what the fuss was about and headed down to UMBC on Saturday night to see the Retrievers take on New Hampshire. What a great record crowd of 3,712 and what a wonderful atmosphere at the RAC. Everything was super from the price, two tickets for $20, free parking and very reasonable concessions. The crowd was super from the rowdy student section, to the wonderful mix of campus supporters, to the general community many with young kids.
Loved the “The Down and Dirty Dawg Band.” They are really a lot of fun, and the champion baton twirler was great entertainment. Speaking of entertainment, what a great show the two teams put on with a thrilling overtime game. In the end, the Retrievers backcourt of Jay Greene and Ray Barbosa were too much for a tougher than expected New Hampshire squad as UMBC (20-7, 12-2 America East) captured its first Conference Regular season title with a 71-68 victory. With this win, UMBC has at least clinched a berth in the National Invitational Tournament, and if they win the conference tournament, they will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. If the Retrievers can win the first two games at the American East Tournament in Binghamton, NY, they would then host the Championship game at the RAC on March 15. Love the little point guard Greene (5’8”); he is a great floor general and really is the conductor of the Retrievers’ offense.
Congratulations to Coach Randy Monroe, his staff, and the players–what a job they have done. You have to see Coach Monroe lead his squad; his actions on the sidelines are almost as much fun as his team. Loved his heartfelt remarks to the crowd after the game. Good luck to the Retrievers the rest of the way; this would be a great story if they could make it to the Big Dance. Congratulations also go out to Athletic Director Charles Brown and Steve Levy, Sports Information Director; they have done a great job promoting and creating this great atmosphere at the RAC.
Every winter, I always have the best of intentions to see more local college basketball; invariably something gets in the way and I never get to as many games as I would like. Work, family, Terps playing on ESPN, it just seems like there is always a good excuse not to go. Then I go to a game like I did last Saturday and I feel even more foolish.
Saturday night’s atmosphere was what college sports should be–two teams playing their hearts out, while families and fans enjoy a great venue at reasonable price. It was a perfect night of college basketball, and it really makes one appreciate what schools like UMBC have to offer. As the season is winding down, make a pledge for next year and get out to these games; you will have a great time. It will worth every cent.