Towson is no match for UMass

November 21, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

AMHERST, Mass. -- The Towson State shock treatment in the preseason National Invitation Tournament ended abruptly last night.

A bigger, quicker and deeper Massachusetts team dominated the Tigers in every phase of the game and brought them back to reality with an 82-55 romp before 9,122 at the Mullins Center.

Towson was never in contention against the nation's 22nd-ranked team after the first few minutes, and the partisan fans -- sensing the hasty knockout -- were chanting "UNC . . . UNC" early in the second half of the lopsided matchup.

The reference was to UMass' clash with No. 1 North Carolina in the semifinals Wednesday night at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Towson had shocked St. John's, 66-65, in its opener but ran into an opponent that "pretty much manhandled our team," said coach Terry Truax.

"They weren't only better tonight, but they are better most of the time. They're very talented and very deserving of their ranking."

It was the 21st straight home-court victory for the Minutemen, who are 7-0 at the Mullins Center since it opened last February.

Massachusetts coach John Calipari began cleaning the bench after his team stampeded ahead, 63-35, with seven minutes remaining.

Towson (1-1) is now idle until Saturday, when it takes on another Eastern power, Connecticut, in Hershey, Pa.

"They just dictated everything in the game," said Tigers guard Scooter Alexander, who scored 11 points and is now six short of 1,000 in his career.

"They out-hustled us to the ball, played very aggressively. St. John's would just try to pound it in, but these guys were all over the floor."

The tenor was established early when Minutemen freshman Marcus Camby blocked three shots in the first six minutes, two of them leading to easy baskets at the other end during an 8-0 run to a 17-7 lead.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts guards were harassing Towson point man Ralph Blalock and his backcourt mates into far too many turnovers (11 in the first half).

By the break, the 6-foot-11 Camby had 10 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, two assists and a steal, and UMass had a comfortable 40-24 cushion.

"Our kids did a good job of getting him easy shots," said Minutemen coach John Calipari of Camby, who went 1-for-7 from the field and fouled out of Thursday's 68-60 opening-round win over Cleveland State.

"Coach just told me to take the easy plays and let the game come to me," said Camby, who was named the national newcomer of the year by one preseason publication.

Obviously, the Minutemen (2-0) did not take Towson lightly in the first meeting between the schools.

They had 17 offensive rebounds-- exhibiting one of their strengths-- 13 steals and eight blocks overall.

"UMass took it to us and we didn't respond," said Truax. "I expect our kids to compete a little better than they did tonight.

"Camby complements their team very well. He's raw right now, but once he gets more strength and stamina, he'll be a force. I'm glad we don't have to play against him in our conference."

Veteran forward Lou Roe topped Massachusetts with 24 points, hitting 10 of 15 from the field, and Alexander's former Dunbar teammate, Donta Bright, had nine points and four rebounds but again had problems at the foul line (3-for-7).

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