A missed curfew in Pensacola, Fla., turned into a wake-up call for Towson State guard Devin Boyd.
After a Dec. 28 loss to Alabama in the Blue Angels Classic, Boyd and fellow junior Chuck Lightening missed curfew by 15 minutes. That's about how long Boyd played coming off the bench in the consolation victory over Navy the following night. He was steaming then, and has since turned red-hot.
Last night, in a 75-71 East Coast Conference conquest of Rider at the Towson Center, Boyd had a career-high 32 points on 10-for-16 shooting. He crammed 21 into the first half, and made the game's decisive play, turning an errant inbounds pass by the Broncs into a layin and a 74-71 lead with 27 seconds left.
In the three previous games, Boyd had 22 points and a three-pointer at the buzzer that beat Bucknell; 21 in a loss at Lehigh and 28 at Central Connecticut. After the Navy game in Pensacola, Towson State was shooting 15.1 percent from three-point range, Boyd 22.5. He has gone 8-for-13 since, and the Tigers are no longer toothless beyond the stripe.
"I'm just taking better shots," Boyd said. "Before, I would pull up on a fastbreak and take a three, but Coach kept telling me those openings would come if I just ran the offense the way it's designed."
There's the rub, since Boyd came to Towson State as an assist man.
The dilemma for Boyd, who leads the ECC in steals with 3.5 a game, is to get four first-year starters and three freshman substitutes into the game. Last night he had only one assist.
The Walbrook High graduate has been running the point for coach Terry Truax ever since he slipped on a Tiger uniform in November 1988, and with 301 assists he's just 55 shy of Bill Leonard's career record (366, from 1983-87). Boyd became the Towson State's 14th 1,000-point scorer, and if he continues this season's pace of 20.0 through 1991-92, he could also catch Pat McKinley (1,832 points from 1973-77) and become the Tigers' all-time leading scorer.
Towson State (7-6) is above .500 for the first time this season and the Tigers are 3-0 for the first time ever in the ECC. But the Tigers know they can't become the one-man team they often seemed the last two years, when Boyd served as Kurk Lee's set-up man.
"Devin subjugated his play to Kurk's, and that made Kurk a better player," Truax said of Lee, the two-time ECC Most Valuable Player who's now with the New Jersey Nets. "We've always given Devin freedom to drive to the basket, because with the ball, he's as good as any player I've coached.
"The danger is that it's becoming last year all over again, us relying too much on one player. He's bailed us out the last three games, and other players have got to step forward."
Last night Lightening, a junior forward, had 17 points and junior guard Terrance Jacobs 11, and both had seven rebounds. Rider (6-8), which fell to 1-2 in the ECC with its 25th straight conference loss on the road, got 23 points from sophomore guard Darrick Suber.