Truax hopes rout by UMass feeds Towson work ethic

November 22, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

AMHERST, Mass. -- At least one good thing evolved from Towson State's first brush with basketball reality.

Saturday night's 82-55 thumping at Massachusetts will help the Tigers be better aware of what's coming in their next game against Connecticut.

"Our kids might respond a little better after having this kind of game," said Tigers coach Terry Truax. "We didn't get anything easy and hopefully, what happened will help magnify the mistakes."

After surprising St. John's, 66-65, for the biggest win in school history Thursday night, Towson was overmatched by the 22nd-ranked Minutemen, who won their 21st straight at home, the second-longest such streak in the nation.

Massachusetts was bigger, deeper and better in all respects and certainly did not take Towson for granted as St. John's may have.

"They had a lot more energy and zoom-zoom than St. John's," said Truax. "They were significantly quicker and played with more enthusiasm. They were just better."

Towson scoring leader Scooter Alexander, held to a hard-earned 11 points, agreed.

"They just dictated everything. We expected to do something to get the ball where we wanted, but couldn't do it," said Alexander. "They just out-hustled us."

Massachusetts advanced to the Preseason NIT semifinals Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden against No. 1 North Carolina by stealing Towson's thunder from the outset and often the ball.

With 6-foot-11 freshman Marcus Camby terrorizing the Tigers at the defensive end and the UMass backcourt applying strong defensive pressure to Towson's inexperienced ball-handlers, there was nowhere to run except into trouble.

"We planned on going to him [Camby] right out of the box," said Massachusetts forward Lou Roe, who led all scorers with 24 points.

Towson turned the ball over on its first possession, led only once (4-2) and never got closer than six after an 8-0 Massachusetts streak ignited by two Camby rejections that led to easy baskets at the other end.

With Alexander drawing special attention and Massachusetts starting to hit three-pointers, the deficit ballooned to 31-15. From there, it was only a question of how great the difference would become.

Camby finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks, three assists and three steals after going 1-for-7 from the field in the opening victory over Cleveland State.

Massachusetts had a 48-35 edge on the boards, converted 15 second-chance points to Towson's four and had 13 steals and eight blocks.

NOTES: Donta Bright, Alexander's former teammate at Dunbar and a UMass sophomore, contributed nine points, four rebounds, two steals and an assist. Alexander said they met before the game. . . . Alexander needs six points to become the 18th Towson player to reach 1,000.

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