It wasn’t quite “The Miracle on Wilkens Avenue” but it was close.
With two minutes gone in the second half of Sunday’s college basketball game at UMBC, the Morgan State bears trailed the Retrievers, 42-24.
Ten minutes later, that lead was gone.
And by the end of the game, the Bears had turned an 18-point deficit into a 15-point win behind a terrific second half effort from Reggie Holmes and Kevin Thompson.
Holmes was a one-man wrecking crew in the second half, scoring 19 points – including 11 straight during a 19-0 Morgan State run – and dominated the game from the perimeter. He finished the game with 23 points to lead all scorers, just as he did on Friday night when the Bears won at Albany (America East) in their season opener.
Morgan State’s 72-57 triumph was engineered in large part by the Bears’ decision to switch to a zone defense in the second half. The move gave Thompson and fellow Morgan State big man Rodney Stokes the ability to patrol the paint and Thompson responded with 10 rebounds while Stokes contributed six blocked shots in the final 20 minutes.
The loss spoiled the debut of new UMBC point guard Chris De La Rosa and 7’0 center Robbie Jackson. De La Rosa (transfer from Siena) looked comfortable running the point for Randy Monroe’s team. Jackson, meanwhile, didn’t look like he was in 100% game shape, but was formidable under the basket at both ends of the floor.
UMBC returns to the RAC on Wednesday night to host Loyola University.
5:17 pm —
If Morgan State goes on to win this one, Reggie Holmes should drive the team bus back to Hillen Rd.
He’s done everything else today.
Holmes just connected on a four-point play to put Morgan State up 59-51 with 5 minutes to play.
That sequence was made possible by Rodney Stokes, who blocked two UMBC shots under the basket and then fed the ball to Holmes for his 3-pointer. Jake Wasco fouled Holmes on the play and he was successful from the foul line to complete the four point play.
5:11 pm —
Morgan State continues to lead at the RAC, holding on to a 53-49 advantage with 7:42 to play.
The Bears trailed, 42-24, early in the second half before going on a 19-0 run that was led by 11 straight points from senior guard Reggie Holmes.
Chauncey Gilliam just picked up his 4th foul of the game for UMBC and he is now on the bench with 11 points.
5:02 pm —
Reggie Holmes is on fire.
The senior guard from St. Francis (Baltimore) has 11 straight points for Morgan State and the Bears have gone on a 19-0 run to lead at UMBC, 43-42 with 12 minutes to play.
Holmes was relatively quiet in the first half, but he’s been Morgan’s loudest player in the first eight minutes of the second half.
He now leads all scorers with 17 points.
Chauncey Gilliam has 11 to lead UMBC.
5:00 pm —
Reggie Holmes has scored the game’s last nine points (3 from the foul line and two 3-pointers) and the Morgan State Bears have worked their way back into this one at the RAC, as UMBC now leads 42-41. UMBC was ahead 42-24 at one point.
The 17-0 Morgan State run has been sparked by Holmes and UMBC’s inability to get a shot. The Bears’ defense has been stifling in the second half.
4:55 pm —
Morgan State has come out with much more enthusiam in the second half and they’ve trimmed an 18-point UMBC lead to 10 points with 15 minutes to play.
Troy Smith leads the Bears with 8 points.
Chauncey Gilliam of UMBC is the game’s leading scorer so far with 11 points.
There’s an outstanding crowd here at the RAC for this one. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 perhaps.
4:25 pm —
UMBC leads by 12 at the half, sparked by newcomer Chris De La Rosa and senior Matt Spadafora.
Todd Bozeman continues to berate his team on the bench for their lack of hustle and inability to put the ball in the basket.
Women’s coach Phil Stern has stopped by press row to brag about his team’s 102-65 win over UMES. Michelle Kurowski had 21 for the Lady Retrievers (they hate being called that).
4:07 pm —
UMBC 25 – Morgan State 18 with 5 minutes to play in the first half.
First blush impressions of the ’09-10 UMBC Retrievers.
They can shoot from the outside.
Chris De La Rosa will be a big time contributer at UMBC.
The big man, 7’0 center Robbie Jackson is not in shape. He hasn’t played since the six minute mark.
Todd Bozeman’s Morgan State Bears have had a horrendous half shooting the basketball. They missed 13 of their first 16 shots from the floor.
The Bears can defend though.
3:51 pm —
UMBC basketball fans are going to like Chris De La Rosa. He’s not going to replace Jay Greene in anyone’s heart just yet, but he’s solid with the ball, isn’t afraid to take it to the hoop and appears tough enough for the rigors of America East.
UMBC leads 12-9 with 11:33 to go in the first half.
It was a ragged start for Morgan State. Todd Bozeman pulled his entire starting five about four minutes into the game and read them the riot act on the bench.
They’ve been more aggressive at both ends of the floor since Bozeman blasted them.
3:35 pm —
We’re underway at the RAC. Good crowd on hand. REALLY weird to see someone (De La Rosa) serving as UMBC’s point guard after four years of Jay Greene.
De La Rosa has gone to the hoop twice in the first minute of the game. He wants to score.
3:17 pm —
It’s tough to leave the TV as the Bengals and Steelers engage in an epic defensive battle at Heinz Field, but I’ve headed down to Catonsville for the UMBC basketball opener.
The Retrievers take on crosstown rival Morgan State (1-0) in a game that features two Retrievers newcomers — point guard Chris De La Rosa and 7’0 center Robbie Jackson.
The ‘Dawgs also got some good news on Thursday when it was announced that sophomore guard Chauncey Gilliam has been ruled academically eligible. Gilliam was originally expected to miss the first semester.
Morgan State comes in on the heels of a season opening win at Albany on Friday night. They’re led by Sr. guard Reggie Holmes (St. Francis).