I’ve been to a lot of sporting events in my life, as have most of you, I assume.
Today’s UMBC winner-take-all victory over Hartford at the RAC was one of the most incredible arena environments I’ve ever witnessed.
The Retrievers won, 82-65, playing a near flawless game to earn the school’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. There wasn’t an empty seat in the place and the first half performance by UMBC was Villanova-’84esque as Randy Monroe’s team connected on 80% of their shots in the game’s first 20 minutes to lead 41-23 at intermission.
Hartford cut the lead to 10 points with about 10 minutes left in the game, but they never got any closer, as UMBC went on a 10-0 run sparked by Ray Barbosa and Brian Hodges to eventually lead by 23 before setting for a 17-point triumph.
Tournament MVP Jay Greene (how many times did people in the stands say today–“if only that kid Greene played for Maryland”?) stole the show in the first half, with three, 3-pointers in the game’s first 6 minutes and a wide array of incredible passes that sliced and diced the Hartford defense.
Did I mention the crowd? Amazing. They stood for the game’s final 3 minutes as both teams just traded trips down the court and when Monroe emptied his bench with a minute to play, you could have heard the roar all the way out to Wilkens Ave.
What a way to win for UMBC. It’s tough enough to play at home with that winner-take-all pressure on the line…but to come out and steamroll the #2 seed like that really tells you how good the Retrievers are this season.
They’ll wait until tomorrow’s selection show to see where they’re headed and who they’re playing, but I’m telling you this for sure: UMBC will not be an easy out. Greene is the field general and the other four guys can all shoot the ball. That’s a pretty good recipe for success, as they showed in the America East Tournament and today during the Championship game.
Congratulations to Coach Monroe, Athletic Director Dr. Charlie Brown and Sports Information Director Steve Levy.
We expect to have Coach Monroe on Monday’s edition of The Comcast Morning Show and we’re working on a couple of other surprises for Monday as well.