Towson State stampedes Buffalo, 122-58, in ECC

March 08, 1992|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

In the week leading up to the East Coast Conference tournament, Towson State coach Terry Truax kept saying that he'd prefer an opening-round game over a bye. It turns out that Truax got his wish -- and his Tigers still had what amounted to a bye.

There's really no other way to explain Towson's record-setting, 122-58 win yesterday that ended a two-game losing streak and advanced the Tigers (15-13) to today's semifinals against Rider. Playing against an out manned Buffalo team in its first season of Division I, the Tigers scored the most points in school history -- and produced the widest margin of victory in an ECC tournament game.

"I really didn't expect an easy game," said Truax, almost sheepishly. "I'd just like to give our kids credit."

Credit for keeping their heads in a game that was, for all purposes, over before it started. In addition to the school scoring record and the widest margin of victory in an ECC tournament game, the effort also established a tournament record for most points in a half (73), and tied a tournament record for steals (15). Twelve Towson players scored and four scored in double figures, led by Terrance Jacobs' 28 points in just 25 minutes.

"To tell the truth, this is the most fun I've ever had in a game," said Jacobs, who on Friday was named the ECC's Player of the Year. "[But] I feel really bad for them because I know they had hopes of playing better."

But listening to Buffalo coach Dan Bazzani afterward, you knew his team had no real hopes of winning against what he considers to be the ECC's best team. The seventh-seeded Bulls (2-26) lost their 12th straight.

"Towson has the best athletes in the conference," Bazzani said. "We don't have the athletes, and it was very obvious."

Especially in the early going, after Buffalo had taken a 6-5 lead following a layup by Rob Middlebrooks less than four minutes into the game. The Bulls wouldn't score another point for nearly six minutes, while Towson was off on a 17-0 run to take a 22-6 lead. Buffalo trailed by as many as 30 late in the half, before going into the locker room trailing 49-25. Towson had a 21-11 rebounding edge and a 57.1 to 38.1 percent shooting advantage from the field in the half -- a sign of things to come.

"We wanted to hold the ball for 30 seconds before we even looked for a shot, but we missed some three's each time it looked like they got a fast break," Bazzani said. "We just got out of things."

After falling behind by 31 early in the second half, the Bulls came back to cut the lead to 65-43 after a three-point play by Lou Johnson (16 points). But a Jacobs steal and dunk started a 19-0 run -- Jacobs had nine points during the spurt -- that gave Towson an 84-43 lead. Trailing by 41 points with 10 minutes left, Buffalo was emotionally and physically spent. For the last eight minutes Bazzani sat slumped in his chair, his chin resting in his hand. The only time he moved, or changed his blank expression, was during timeouts.

"You don't know the half of it, believe me," Bazzani said. "It's been an incredible nightmare."

Bazzani expressed sympathy toward senior John Blalock, who averaged 21.4 points going into yesterday's game. He is probably the only legitimate Division I player on the roster (the Bulls played Division II last season). The 6-foot guard scored 11.

"The reason why he's not here [in the interview room] is because he's downstairs crying his heart out," Bazzani said. "To play your last game and to lose by [64], I really feel sorry for him."

Truax said he could sympathize with the Buffalo players. "But I'd rather be on this bench than the other bench," Truax said. After shooting a season-high 61.5 percent from the field and holding a 49-20 advantage on the boards, Towson will be aiming for its third straight ECC tournament title.

"Overall I felt our team was very unselfish," said Truax.

And the win gives Towson a chance to play in the semifinals against Rider, the team that won at the Towson Center last Saturday to deny the Tigers a share of the regular-season ECC title.

"We'd like another shot at them because they took that chance away from us," Jacobs said. "I look forward to it."

Buffalo Min FG FT R A PF Pts

Middlebrooks 34 4-11 1-2 4 1 3 9

Rosser 13 0-2 0-0 2 0 4 0

Genaway 28 3-3 0-0 0 0 2 6

Blalock 36 3-10 5-10 1 6 2 11

Johnson 29 6-12 3-4 0 2 3 16

Schott 15 0-5 0-0 1 0 0 0

Thompson 5 0-0 2-2 0 0 1 2

Wilson 21 1-2 6-6 0 2 1 8

Hasan 8 2-5 0-1 2 0 0 4

Elliott 11 0-2 2-2 2 2 2 2

Totals 200 19-52 19-27 20 110 18 58

Percentages: FG -- .365; FT -- .704. Team rebounds: 0. Three-point goals: 1-7 (Johnson 1-2, Schott 0-4, Blalock 0-1). Blocked shots: 3 (Genaway, Wilson, Elliott). Turnovers: 29 (Middlebrooks 10, Johnson 7, Blalock 4, Shott 2, Elliott 2, Rosser, Genaway, Wilson, Hasan). Steals: 8 (Wilson 3, Middlebrooks 2, Blalock 2, Hasan). Technical fouls: None.

Towson State Min FG FT R A PF Pts

Lightening 25 7-14 4-7 3 5 0 20

James 20 1-2 0-0 2 0 4 2

Brown 26 3-6 3-3 6 0 0 9

Alexander 26 10-13 2-2 1 3 2 23

Jacobs 25 10-12 7-8 8 8 1 28

Ray 9 3-6 0-0 2 3 3 6

Caldwell 14 3-5 2-2 6 0 2 8

Mason 11 5-8 0-0 3 0 3 10

Valentine 14 2-2 0-0 1 5 1 5

Campbell 14 1-3 0-0 7 2 2 2

Griffin 7 2-2 3-4 3 0 1 7

Manning 5 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0

Locksley 4 1-4 0-0 4 0 1 2

Totals 200 48-78 21-26 49 26 20 22

Percentages: FG -- .615; FT -- .808. Team rebounds: 0. Three-point goals: 0. Blocked shots: 1 (Caldwell). Turnovers: 17 (Jacobs 5, Lightening 2, James 2, Alexander 2, Ray 2, Campbell 2, Mason, Manning). Steals: 23 (Jacobs 5, Lightening 3, Brown 3, Alexander 3, Valentine 3, Campbell 3, Mason 2, Caldwell). Technical fouls: None. Halftime: Towson State, 49-25. A -- 1,000.

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