Towson State turns back Coastal Carolina, 74-69

February 07, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

Coastal Carolina and Towson State both put a Player of the Year on the Towson Center floor last night.

The difference in the Tigers' 74-69 Big South Conference victory was their supporting cast, as their second star, sophomore guard Scooter Alexander, stepped up with 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. His performance and others helped Devin Boyd in his personal headline battle with Tony Dunkin.

Dunkin, who is looking to win Player of the Year honors for the fourth straight time in the Big South, had a game-high 27 points, but he was limited to four free throws in the last 10 minutes. Boyd, similarly honored by the East Coast Conference two years ago, thanked his teammates after scoring 19 points on five of 18 shooting.

"Dunkin's the best player in the league," said Boyd. "He's tough inside, tough outside, and we were able to keep running players at him, double- and triple-teaming him."

Juniors John James, Matt Campbell and Andrew Mason took turns leaning on Dunkin, a 6-foot-7 forward who led the Chanticleers to the NCAA tournament in 1991.

Dunkin was held without a basket in the last 10 minutes, the Tigers' best effort against him coming with 2:30 left and the score tied at 65. James, who had four fouls, blocked Dunkin in the lane. Chanticleer coach Russ Bergman wanted a foul on the play, and that was one of several second-half decisions that had him chasing the officials at game's end.

Boyd grabbed the loose ball and fed Alexander for the go-ahead basket with 2:11 left. Larry Brown then drew an offensive foul, but the Tigers' poor foul shooting kept Coastal Carolina close.

One missed free throw benefited the Tigers. Boyd grabbed a Brown miss and had his shot roll out, but Alexander tapped it in on the other side for a 70-65 lead with 41 seconds left.

Towson State (11-8, 8-2) was able to keep pace with Liberty atop the Big South, while Coastal Carolina (11-9, 5-4) dropped to fourth. The Chanticleers are at UMBC tomorrow.

Besides Alexander's 22 on 10-for-14 shooting, the Tigers got nine points and seven rebounds from Brown, eight points and five rebounds from Campbell, and four blocks and five rebounds from James.

Dunkin, who has 1,838 points and is racing Radford's Doug Day for the Big South career scoring record, is joined by four transfers in the Coastal Carolina lineup.

Having won by three at Coastal last month, Towson State coach Terry Truax was delighted to sweep the regular-season series from the Chanticleers, whom he sees as an obstacle in the conference tournament.

Boyd has 1,776 career points and he should pass Pat McKinley (1,832)at the Tigers' next home game Feb. 13, against Radford. The Tigers are at Lehigh tomorrow, then go to Liberty Thursday for a first-place showdown in the conference.

Sophomore guard Keke Hicks, a transfer from Oklahoma, had 15 points, and Mohammed Acha and Joey Hart, who led Vincennes to the top of the junior college rankings for much of last season, combined for 22 points.

Coastal Carolina's zone troubled the Tigers, whose only three-pointer came from Boyd, with 8:21 left. It came at the right time, with Towson State trailing 55-50.

The Tigers' defense couldn't have been much better in the first half, when both teams had assorted difficulties at the offensive end. Dunkin needed 11 shots to get 12 points, and the difference was a jumper from the right baseline by Alexander that made it 30-28 at the break.

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