NEWARK, Del. -- In the best of times, Towson State found it nearly impossible to win a game in Delaware.
These are not the best of times for the Tigers.
Towson State lost for the fourth straight time and 11th in 12 tries at the Delaware Field House, as the Blue Hens rolled to a 90-69 rout of the Tigers yesterday. The 21-point margin of victory was the biggest for Delaware since the two first met in 1970, and it gave the Tigers plenty to think about over a week's break, as they re-enter East Coast Conference play Saturday at Buffalo.
During the last three minutes of the first half and the first three of the second, Delaware outscored Towson State by 19-2, as the Blue Hens' pressure defense forced many of Towson State's 26 turnovers. Most were converted into easy baskets, as Delaware made 59.4 percent of its field-goal tries.
The two were rivals in the ECC for much of the past decade, but Delaware switched this season to the North Atlantic, where it is the favorite. After taking a back seat to the Tigers in recent seasons, the Blue Hens took pleasure in routing the two-time ECC champions, who are limping through a nine-game road trip laid out by coach Terry Truax with the notion that Devin Boyd would be in the backcourt.
Boyd, last season's ECC Player of the Year who guided the Tigers to two straight NCAA berths, suffered a fractured elbow in the season opener and announced last week that he would redshirt this season. The Tigers, who have three more road games before a Jan. 27 date with Mount St. Mary's at the Towson Center, have little offensive direction.
"I didn't predict this record when Devin went down, but I didn't expect to struggle like this," Truax said. "We've been lucky with injuries the last couple of years, and the coaching staff has accepted Devin's absence. I don't know if the players have adjusted.
"We get one or two deficient areas taken care of, and something else crops up. Today it's turnovers."
Towson State might be looking too much to seniors Terrance Jacobs and Chuck Lightening. Both took 16 shots against Delaware. Freshman guard Terrance Alexander had 10 shots, but the nine other Tigers combined had only 16 shots.
"A good point guard is hard to replace, but there's no reason why we can't play better than this," Lightening said. "The more we lose, the more people are going to say, 'If we had Devin . . . ' but we're just not playing well right now. I don't know what the problem is. I don't understand why we can't put two halves together."
The Tigers, who weren't ready to play at George Mason on Wednesday, were prepared for Delaware and a crowd of 2,237. With Jacobs again on a mission, Towson State had leads of 12-6 and 25-14. The Tigers were sitting on a 33-25 lead with 3 minutes, 33 seconds left in the first half and posing numerous problems for the Blue Hens, who reversed the momentum with a press made more effective by the Tigers' lax handling of the ball.
Delaware scored the last 10 of the first half to take a 35-33 halftime lead. Jacobs tied it 32 seconds into the second half, but the Blue Hens' 11-2 run gave them a 46-37 bulge with 16:52 left. After that, Towson State never got closer than seven.
Delaware, which needed overtime to subdue UMBC on Tuesday, got 18 points apiece from forwards Alex Coles and Anthony Wright, who shot a combined 65.4 percent (17-for-26) from the field. Spencer Dunkley, a 6-foot-11 junior center, had 12 points, seven rebounds, five steals and two assists.
Jacobs again had game highs of 27 points and nine rebounds, as he has averaged 25.8 points and 9.8 assists the past four games. Lightening had 14 points, but he was limited to one basket in the second half. Alexander had 10 points.