Boyd's 37 points lift Towson State past Liberty

February 12, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

LYNCHBURG, Va. -- Ten weeks and 20 games into the season, Towson State finally got a look at Liberty, the preseason favorite over the Tigers in the Big South Conference.

Of course, the Flames also caught the conference's best backcourt for the first time, and senior Devin Boyd and sophomore Scooter Alexander lifted Towson State to an 86-81 victory that put the Tigers in excellent position to grab the No. 1 seed for the Big South Tournament next month.

Towson State (13-8, 9-2) came here with a half-game lead over Liberty (14-9, 8-4). The Flames, who play at UMBC tomorrow and at the Towson Center on Monday, dropped to third place behind Campbell.

Boyd made a run at the conference scoring record, getting 37 points. He became Towson State's all-time leading scorer (1,845) in the first half, when he had 26. The Flames shut Boyd out in the first 14 minutes of the second half, but he made eight free throws in the last two minutes.

Liberty had the ball and was within four at 83-79, when Alexander created a turnover that led to two Boyd free throws. Alexander, The Baltimore Sun Player of the Year at Dunbar two years ago, had 16 of his 22 points in the second half.

While Towson State has the best backcourt in the conference, Liberty counters with the premier inside combination, the senior duo of Julius Nwosu and Parish Hickman. Both had 22 points, but they didn't get help from the perimeter until the end, when the Flames got close with a pair of three-pointers.

Liberty was within three points with nine minutes remaining, before Towson State went on a decisive 11-0 run. Alexander started it with a transition basket, he and John James converted three-point plays, and when Boyd's three-pointer from the right wing dropped, the difference was 69-55 with 5:48 left.

The Tigers were up 52-41 after a short jumper by Matt Campbell, but the Flames reeled off eight straight points in less than two minutes to regain their footing.

Boyd came in 25 points behind Pat McKinley (1,832) on the Tigers' all-time scoring list, and he needed only a half to catch the lithe center from the mid-1970s. Eric Pothoven was hanging all over Boyd when he muscled in a foul-line jumper with four seconds left in the half, and the free-throw completed the three-point play and gave Boyd 26 points and Towson State a 44-34 lead.

Boyd and his teammates weren't as bold in the first nine minutes, when he had a string of 18 straight free throws stopped and Liberty took an 18-12 lead. Boyd put his signature on the game at that point, scoring the first 14 points of a 16-2 run that ended with Matt Campbell's jumper from the right side.

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