Towson, Loyola top state tip-off

December 01, 1992|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

After 25 practices and a pair of scrimmages, Terry Truax isn't going to put too much stock in Towson State's basketball opener.

After a shortened preseason mandated by the NCAA, the state's nine Division I teams play for real tonight. The only game in Baltimore has the Tigers playing Loyola (7:30) at the Towson Center, and Truax isn't expecting a polished product.

"With two fewer weeks of practice, it's too soon to evaluate how good teams will be," said Truax, in his 10th season as Tigers coach. "If you have an inexperienced, young team, the problem is compounded. It's not too bad for us, but we've never played very well in November and December to begin with."

Averaging better than 18 wins during the past four seasons, Truax's Tigers have burned brightest in February and March.

After three straight titles in the East Coast Conference, the Tigers and UMBC moved to the Big South. Truax has a solid freshman class, but the newcomers will have a difficult time breaking into a lineup that features Devin Boyd, the 1990-91 ECC Player of the Year who sat out last season with an elbow injury.

Loyola, meanwhile, is looking for a new go-to guy after the dismissal from the college of junior forward Michael Reese.

The Greyhounds are minus the top three scorers from a team that won the fourth and final Beltway Classic a year ago. After the end of that local tournament, coach Tom Schneider approached Truax with the idea of Loyola and Towson State staying near Charles Street to begin the season. Towson will open at Loyola in 1993.

* Navy and UMES have new coaches and what they hope are new looks. The Mids go to St. Bonaventure with Don DeVoe trying to turn around a program that hasn't had a winning record since David Robinson left Annapolis in 1987. UMES has had 18 straight losing seasons, and Rob Chavez is the Hawks' fourth coach since 1989.

* When Mount St. Mary's plays at Bucknell, it will be the 39th season opener for Jim Phelan and the first time in 28 years that he starts two freshmen. Jeff Balistrere and Chris McGuthrie will start in a three-guard lineup that includes Kevin Booth, who averaged 19.3 points last season.

* Morgan State goes to Fairfax, Va., to play George Mason, and the Bears will be without sophomore center Jarrad Smith. Smith was scheduled to serve a one-game disciplinary suspension, but he aggravated a stress fracture in his right wrist last week and is wearing a cast over his elbow.

* At Kansas State, Coppin State unveils sophomore forward Stephen Stewart, who last played in 1989-90.

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