Kevin Booth's knees are hurting, but he could have iced down his right arm after the Baltimore Beltway Classic.
A junior guard who redshirted last season with an injury to his left knee and is now bothered by tendinitis in his right, Booth scored a career-high 36 points last night to lead Mount St. Mary's to a 91-77 upset victory over Towson State in the consolation game of the Beltway Classic at Maryland Baltimore County.
In getting coach Jim Phelan his 688th victory in 38 seasons, the Mountaineers (1-4) ended a 10-game losing streak, the longest in a history that began in 1934. Two-time champion Towson State (1-4), making its first consolation appearance, was the only team to enter the Beltway Classic with a win to its credit, hence the surprise at its fourth-place finish.
Booth set tournament records with six three-point field goals and 14 attempts in a semifinal loss to Loyola on Friday, and he was even more effective from long distance against the Tigers, hitting six of 10 for a tournament record 12 for the two games.
"I didn't really play a complete game, but I got hot," said Booth, who committed 10 turnovers but was 14-16 at the free-throw line. They were keeping pressure on me, but sometimes I've got to take it on my shoulders. I felt 'just shoot it.' Tonight, I was taking the shots I wanted."
Freshman guard Phil Galvin stepped up and had 16 points for the Mountaineers, who also got 15 points and 14 rebounds from senior forward Jeff Hall. Sophomore Chad Stull had 11 points, four assists and 12 rebounds, as Mount St. Mary's, which usually struggles on the boards, had a 47-41 rebounding bulge.
Towson State, which made only 37.2 percent (28-for-75) of its field-goal attempts, got 19 points and six rebounds from Terrance Jacobs, and 14 points from Chuck Lightening. The senior forward was 6-for-19 from the field.
Booth made five three-pointers in the second half, including three in a pivotal two-minute span. The Mountaineers had rallied from a 52-44 deficit to get within 58-57 when Booth took advantage of some defensive lapses by the Tigers. A decisive 11-3 run featured a long shot by Booth from the left corner and two from the right wing, as Mount St. Mary's forged a 68-61 lead that never got below three again.
After Terrance Jacobs drew the Tigers within 71-68 with just under four minutes left, the Mountaineers scored eight unanswered points, three on uncontested fast-break baskets that caught the Tigers napping.
Towson State, bothered by poor free-throw shooting in its first four games, came out of its funk at the line in the first half, making 12 of 13 take a 37-30 lead into halftime.
Already minus senior guard Devin Boyd until at least the second week of January, Towson State was also without the services of sophomore center John James, who sprained an ankle in Friday's 93-83 semifinal loss to UMBC. James should return for Saturday's game against Washington College.
"They [Mount St. Mary's] came back and never gave up, and that's a good lesson for our team," Towson State coach Terry Truax said. "We had to make plays when we fell behind, and we didn't. We're not taking advantage of our quickness.
"I don't think we realize what Devin Boyd has meant to this team. We're obviously missing some senior leadership."