Towson edges Campbell, Big South champ, 61-56

January 14, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

A 21-point blowout of UNC-Asheville two days earlier was Towson State's first game in its new conference, but the Tigers had a more meaningful introduction to the Big South last night against Campbell.

The Camels of Buies Creek, N.C., have everyone back from the team that won the Big South tournament last year, and they pushed Towson State to the final minute before the Tigers escaped with a 61-56 victory at the Towson Center.

It wasn't exactly a must-win situation, but Towson State (5-6) wanted to take a 2-0 conference record on its first Big South road trip. The Tigers leave tomorrow for South Carolina, where they will play Coastal Carolina Saturday and Charleston Southern Monday.

"Coach [Terry Truax] told us that the team that's going to get the top seed is the one that wins its home games and does OK on the road," said senior forward Larry Brown, whose basket with 1:28 left put the Tigers ahead for good, 52-51.

"They've got everyone back and we've got a lot of people back, too, and we felt there was something to prove. You've got two conference champions going after each other, and we wanted to show what the teams from the ECC could do."

Brown was a part of three East Coast Conference titles, and the Tigers hope to keep their postseason success going. They won't have the home-court advantage for the March tournament, and they don't figure to outscore anyone 28-4 at the line like they did last night, either.

Towson missed its first nine shots and was a dismal 16-for-57 from the field, but made 28 of 31 free throws. Devin Boyd and Scooter Alexander had 18 points apiece, but the former was two of 13 from the field, 0-for-7 from three-point range. He got 14 points at the line, missing one.

The Tigers made nine of 10 free throws in the final 68 seconds, following one of the biggest baskets ever by Brown, who had eight points and six rebounds. He was assisted by junior forward Matt Campbell, who came up big at the other end 20 seconds later, getting a hand on a three-pointer by Mark Mocnik.

Campbell (2-7) had eight days to prepare, and the Camels' motion offense troubled the Tigers. It was their seventh straight loss, and three of them came when junior forward Joe Spinks was out with a broken hand. He had game highs of 22 points and nine rebounds.

Towson State did better defensively on Campbell's other threat, as senior forward Mocnik had 14 points. Mocnik's 40 minutes of fame came in the NCAA tournament last March, when his 29 points on seven three-pointers were the Camels' lone bright spot in an 82-56 loss to Duke. He hit four of 10 threes last night.

"Campbell had us playing the way they wanted us to play," Truax said. "I don't know how you can concentrate so well at the free-throw line and give up so many easy baskets."

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