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Flash lose home opener

LORETTO — Neither the momentum from a historic victory on Wednesday nor a strong start in the first half was enough for Saint Francis to overcome the challenge set by the UMBC Retrievers on Saturday in an 80-65 loss at the DeGol Arena.

The Red Flash stormed out of the gate during their home opener by taking the tipoff, going on an 8-2 run and keeping a steady lead over the Retrievers for the majority of the first half. SFU only trailed for 24 seconds in the first 16 minutes of the game, leading 33-32 at the end of the first half.

“Everything was pretty even, but I thought in the stretch, they (UMBC) played harder, got more 50-50 balls, and in spite of that, we were up one at halftime,” Saint Francis coach Rob Krimmel said.

UMBC struck back early in the second half by going on a 9-0 run in the first four minutes, bringing the game to 41-33. Saint Francis came to within three on four occasions, but the Retrievers maintained their lead over Saint Francis for the remainder of the game.

“They’re a very good defensive team,” Krimmel said. “Coming out in the second half, some poor shots and turnovers is what got them downhill.”

Red Flash forward Mark Flagg was 8-of-12 from the field and added eight rebounds. Flagg was “impressed” by UMBC. He credited the Retrievers’ “experienced team” as well as the many turnovers by Saint Francis to be the contributing factors of the momentum shift.

“It’s a learning experience for the team,” Flagg said. “The worst thing that could happen is that you think you’re the best team and you’re just going to blow everyone out.”

The Red Flash will travel to Charlottesville on Tuesday to face nationally-ranked Virginia.

“UMBC played better than we did today,” Krimmel said. “I told the team we’re going to go back and look at the film and find ways that we can be better, cut down on those turnovers, and continue to grow.”

UMBC (1-1): Akin 2-3 4-7 8, Horvath 7-11 4-6 18, Eytle-Rock 2-5 4-4 8, Owens 1-6 2-2 5, Rogers 5-9 3-3 15, Kennedy 3-8 2-2 9, Spasojevic 5-6 2-3 12, Picarelli 1-4 0-0 3, Johnson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 27-54 21-27 80.

ST. FRANCIS (1-1): Flagg 8-11 0-5 16, Thompson 3-10 0-1 6, Dixon-Conover 3-10 0-0 6, Laskey 3-6 0-0 7, Land 3-5 3-4 10, Harrison 2-3 2-2 6, Stewart 4-8 1-2 12, Ruggery 0-0 2-2 2, Cohen 0-0 0-0 0, Coleman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-53 8-16 65.

Halftime–St. Francis 33-32. 3-Point Goals–UMBC 5-22 (Rogers 2-5, Kennedy 1-3, Owens 1-4, Picarelli 1-4, Eytle-Rock 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Horvath 0-4), St. Francis 5-13 (Stewart 3-4, Land 1-1, Laskey 1-2, Harrison 0-1, Dixon-Conover 0-2, Thompson 0-3). Fouled Out–Stewart. Rebounds–UMBC 32 (Horvath 12), St. Francis 28 (Flagg 7). Assists–UMBC 15 (Kennedy 3), St. Francis 12 (Dixon-Conover, Harrison 4). Total Fouls–UMBC 18, St. Francis 23.

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