Boyd scores 32, lifts Towson over UMBC Tigers win, 82-76, regain share of first

February 04, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

His best player was ailing and his team was coming off its first two conference losses, but Towson State coach Terry Truax wasn't concerned heading into last night's Big South Conference game against UMBC.

Truax's confidence in his team was well-founded. The Tigers used a strong second half and a season-high 32 points from a gimpy Devin Boyd to dispose of the Retrievers, 82-76, before 1,824 at the Towson Center to regain a share of the conference lead.

"I wasn't concerned, not at all," Truax said of the Tigers' momentary fall from first place. "Very few teams expect to go through a league season undefeated. We go on the road and lose two games, and people [that beat Towson State] make it look like they won the national championship.

"I know North Carolina, if they lose on the road, you don't want to be their next opponent. I want our guys to have that mind-set."

Towson State (10-8, 7-2) is tied with Liberty for the Big South Conference lead. UMBC (7-11, 4-5) slipped to seventh place. The Retrivers were unable to exorcise the demons that haunt them at the Towson Center, where they have lost to the Tigers seven straight times since 1979.

Towson State had lost games and momentum at Winthrop and Campbell, but UMBC had gained some with a victory at Winthrop on Monday, its first road win in the conference. The Retrievers felt good for a half last night, but Towson State opened the second with a 20-7 run and opened an 11-point lead.

Boyd is slowed by a bruised heel and a sprained ankle in his right foot, but he had his best shooting night of the season, hitting eight of 13 from the field and 14 of 17 from the free-throw line. In the second half, he was 5-for-7 and the Tigers

15 of 20 from the field.

"We knew UMBC was going to come out and pressure me and Scooter [Alexander], and in that situation we've got to find the open lane and take it," said Boyd, who has 1,757 career points, 75 shy of the Towson State record.

Despite 20 turnovers, the Tigers got enough good shots. Alexander had 19 points on 9-for-12 shooting, and Matt Campbell continued his recent surge, with 10. Junior center John James had nine points, nine rebounds and blocked five shots, and his work inside helped the Tigers lead in rebounds (42-39) and limit the Retrievers to 35.1 percent shooting (13-for-54) in the second half.

UMBC got 20 points from junior guard Skip Saunders and 13 from reserve guard Spencer Ferguson.

Alexander scored two baskets in the first 40 seconds of the second half to erase a 37-35 UMBC lead, then assisted Boyd's three-pointer that gave the Tigers a 42-37 advantage. A minute later, Boyd's three-point play made it 45-39, and the Tigers' lead never got smaller than four points.

Saunders missed an open jumper at the foul line that would have cut the lead to two, and Craig Valentine scored at the other end to give the Tigers a 69-63 lead with 6:10 left.

Down 28-22 and with Boyd on the bench getting his ankle treated, UMBC pressured Towson State into several of its 12 first-half turnovers to go on a 9-0 run that put them on top, 33-28. The UMBC halftime lead was 37-35, but it could have been bigger had some foul-line jumpers gone the other way. The Retrievers' Brian Watkins missed with six seconds left, and the Tigers got Valentine's to count at the buzzer.

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