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UMBC to host TAMU-CC in CIT semifinals

Rodney Elliott has been a great spark off the bench for UMBC, hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 11 points in ther CIT wins over Saint Francis (Pa.) and Liberty.

With their tremendous College Tournament run continuing, the UMBC Retrievers men’s basketball team will remain at home on Wednesday for the semifinals as they invite Texas A&M Corpus Christi at 7 pm.

The Islanders Islanders advanced to the semifinals with a 78-62 victory over the Fort Wayne Mastodon’s in Corpus Christi, Texas. They also earned an 80-64 victory over Georgia State in the first round and 82-73 victory over Weber State in the second round.

Rashawn Thomas had scored more than 25 points in each of TAMU-CC’s three CIT games. He is averaging 28.7 points and nine rebounds per game this postseason. Ehab Amin has also been a potent scorer with 21.7 points and six rebounds per game in the CIT. The Islanders have averaged 80 points in their three game in the tournament. They are shooting 47.6-percent from the floor and five made 3-pointers per game at a 31.1-percent clip.

Texas A&M Corpus Christi is 23-11 this year and have only two losses since they bear Lamar on January 25. One of those was an overtime loss in the Southland Conference championship game to New Orleans. The Islanders were the second seed in the Southland tournament after going 12-6 in league play.

This season they have averaged 75.7 points per game and shoot 47.1-percent from the floor. Teams have scored 72.1 points per game against them and UMBC could have a good matchup against them on the perimeter as they allow 7.9 3-pointer per game.

Thomas and Amin were both First Team All-Southland selection and All-Defensive Team picks. Thomas leads the team with 22.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and two blocks per game while shooting 52.6-percent from the floor. Amin averaged 17.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 2.9 assists per game. He leads the team with 42 made 3-pointers this year and shoots 46.4-percent from the entire floor.

UMBC and Texas A&M have never played before and have no common opponents this year.

The Islanders are coached by Willis Wilson in his sixth season with the program. Wilson has led TAMU-CC to three straight 20-win seasons and four straight CIT tournaments. They went to the second round each of the first two years in the stretch. Willis previously coaches Rice from 1992 to 2008. Between his stints at Rice and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi he was an assistant coach at Memphis under Josh Pastner.

The winner of the UMBC/TAMU-CC game will play the winner of the other CIT semifinal between Furman and Saint Peter’s on Friday at 9 pm.. Saint Peter’s is hosting the other semifinal. The championship game site will be determined after the games on Wednesday. Unlike the first three rounds of the tournament the semifinals and champion game will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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