Point guard Chris De La Rosa had a career game but even his efforts were not enough to overcome the poor defense by the Retrievers
The UMBC men’s basketball team’s 82-71loss to Pennsylvania can be summed up in four words: they can’t play defense.
Going into the game Pennsylvania was 0-10 in their fourth game under interim coach Jessie Allen, allowing over 83 points per game and only scoring 60 points per game. In their first home game of the new year, and just fifth of the season UMBC was expected to come out with a purpose and get their second win of the season, but instead their lack of defense was too much to over come.
When a team scores 71 points in college basketball they should win, but when the opposing team shoots 50% from the field and hits 13 three-pointers and score 82 points, obviously something is wrong.
While the game was close at half-time, in the second half Pennsylvania just had their way and in the final 10 minutes they missed just one shot and scored 32 points. Six of the seven Quakers to play in the game surpassed their season average in points and four scored in double digits, led by Zach Rosen who went 4-7 from the three point line in a 28 point effort and Darren Smith whose 15 points can off five three-pointers.
For UMBC, only four players found a way to score in the first half. Sophomore swingman Chauncey Gilliam looked to be off to a career game with 16 points while shooting perfect from the field (5-5) and three point range (3-3). But in the second half he was completely taken out of the game by Pennsylvania’s defense. Every time he touched the ball he was double teamed and had to pass the ball out. He only managed two points after the break, which came in the final two minutes.
Two more players managed to get on the board but it was Chris De La Rosa put the team on his back in hopes of getting a win and had the best game of his career, but the lack of defense was too much for his effort. He scored a career high 28 points off a 66.6% shooting performance with five assists, three rebounds, one steal, and no turnovers.
Now UMBC is 1-13 with 15 more games to play, which are all America East Conference games. They will look to rebound against a banged up Boston U team that was a unanimous pick to win the conference in the pre-season polls. They have been without Scott Brittain all season due to a concussion. His absence made the Terriers lose their best defender and one true offensive threat in the post. But the team will also be without sharp-shooting Tyler Morris who recently broke his right hand. He is a senior but has a history of injuries and has not played UMBC since his freshman season because of them. He was averaging 11.2 points per game, 3.1 assists, and 2.6 rebounds this season.