Deadwyler lifts Delaware past Towson State, 75-74

February 21, 1991|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Sun Staff Correspondent

NEWARK, Del. -- From the outset, he screamed, taunted, pointed and elbowed the Towson State Tigers in acts of intimidation.

And in the end, when it counted, Delaware's Ricky Deadwyler was able to back up the hot-dogging.

The 6-foot-1 guard scored five points in the final 27 seconds as the Blue Hens came from behind to beat the Tigers, 75-74, in an extremely physical contest before a Delaware Fieldhouse crowd of 2,266.

It was a meaningless game in the East Coast Conference standings for Towson (16-9, 10-2), which clinched the regular-season title with a win over Hofstra on Saturday. But for ,, Delaware (13-12, 7-4) it was a big win in its battle for second place.

"It was an exciting game," said Towson coach Terry Truax, as his team lost its first road conference game this season. "Delaware was just more determined in the final minutes."

Towson led, 66-55, with 7 minutes, 7 seconds left but managed just two field goals and eight points after that.

Still, after two free throws by Devin Boyd (26 points), the Tigers led, 72-70, with 52 seconds left. After Delaware's Spencer Dunkley missed two free throws, Boyd was fouled and hit two more to make it 74-70 with 35 seconds remaining.

But Deadwyler hit a three-point shot from just to the right of the key to make it 74-73. And, after a Towson turnover, he hit a short jumper with 15 seconds left for a 75-74 Delaware lead.

Towson had one final chance to win, but Boyd missed a running jumper with five seconds left.

"We played passive at the end in spreading the floor and I did too much dribbling," Boyd said. "We just want them back in the tournament. We'll play a better game and we'll come ready."

The Tigers definitely weren't ready for what met them in the first half as the Blue Hens came out in extremely physical fashion.

Towson's William Griffin caught an elbow in the mouth and Boyd was rammed into the basketball support on a layup attempt.

But it was Deadwyler who unnerved the Tigers the most as he waved, pointed and later elbowed Boyd, who was called for a technical foul after he nearly retaliated.

"It was just unnecessary what we had to play through," said Boyd, who sat out the final 7:34 after the technical. "If I were a freshman, I probably would have gotten caught up with that and punched him. But I kept my composure."

Delaware led, 39-31, at the half, but got off to a poor second-half start after All-American high jumper Alex Coles missed a dunk. Meanwhile, Towson was off on a 16-4 run to take a 47-43 lead.

The lead grew to 66-55 and frustration set in for Delaware as Coles (elbow) and Deadwyler (tackle) were called for intentional fouls in a span of 27 seconds. But Towson struggled the rest of the way, and game's final seconds found Deadwyler standing on the press table with his arms extended.

When asked about Boyd -- the second-leading scorer in the ECC -- Deadwyler said, "Who's he?" That comment and his actions on the court should make it interesting should the teams meet in the ECC tournament.

"I don't think Ricky Deadwyler could play for us with that crap," Truax said. "I don't think there's room for that kind of stuff when you play basketball. He talks all the time and he's the last guy I would want to beat us."

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