Towson clings to lead, holds off Loyola, 71-61

December 02, 1992|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

The Towson Center was filled with familiar sights last night.

Devin Boyd was back in uniform and Towson State won, but the Tigers revisited their inability to put away an inferior opponent, as they nearly blew a 13-point lead in the last four minutes, but held off Loyola, 71-61, before 2,192.

It was the season opener for both teams, and for the first 36 minutes, the Tigers looked like a three-time league champion, moving out to a 59-46 lead. Bolstered by the return of senior guard Boyd, who went down in the 1991-92 opener with a season-ending elbow injury, Towson was in control, but reverted to old habits to let Loyola back in the game.

"I saw some real good signs," said Terry Truax, who began his 10th season as Towson State coach. "At the same time, had we lost, it would have been easy to see why."

Towson State limited Loyola to 21 points in the first half. By the time they were down 36-21 two minutes into the second half, the Greyhounds had committed 12 turnovers, but Loyola used the same kind of pressure to come back, as a three-guard lineup made Towson State force some questionable shots and give up the ball four times during an 11-2 run that got the Greyhounds within 61-57 with 1:36 left.

The Tigers were good enough at the free-throw line, making eight of 12 in the final 1:13, so they'll take a 1-0 record to Oklahoma on Saturday.

Boyd (Walbrook), who was the East Coast Conference Player of the Year in 1990-91, scored 23 points, but had five turnovers. Sophomore guard Terrance Alexander (Dunbar) had 15 points on six of 15 shooting, and junior forward Matt Campbell (Broadneck) had nine of his 10 points in the second half, six rebounds and two assists.

"I can't explain why we can't play with a 15-point lead," Boyd said. "I was a little excited, and I started to force shots, but the good part is, when Loyola denied me the ball, the other guys stepped up and made some key shots. Still, we have to sustain the effort better."

The Tigers had taken command by outscoring the Greyhounds 18-2 during a six-minute span that ended the first half and began the second. They were up 59-46 on Larry Brown's basket with 4:30 left, but Loyola scored eight straight points and 11 of the next 13, getting within 61-57 on Teron Owens' baseline drive with 1:36 remaining.

Loyola, which trumpeted its front line in the preseason after the suspension of talented swingman Michael Reese, rallied with a three-guard lineup. Two were freshmen, Owens and Matt Walker.

"We got back in it by playing their game," senior guard Mike Malone said. "Towson State took us out of our halfcourt game with traps and double-teams, and when we tried a smaller lineup, we were able to do the same thing."

The Greyhounds made 42.3 percent of their field goals to Towson State's 46.5, and the Tigers enjoyed a 29-15 edge in free throws made.

Boyd picked up his second foul with 7:27 left in the first half, and the Greyhounds took their only lead a minute later when Dallas Shannon's basket in traffic made it 19-18.

Loyola coach Tom Schneider went back to a man defense, however, and the Tigers went on a 12-2 run during the final four minutes of the half. It featured two baskets by junior forward Andrew Mason, and the first field goal of freshman Ralph Blalock's collegiate career.

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