Towson rolls past Delaware

December 12, 1993|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

NEWARK, Del. -- Scooter Alexander was one day removed from his 21st birthday. Ralph Blalock and John James had a homecoming to celebrate. Together, they helped Towson State crash the University of Delaware's party yesterday.

Alexander scored a career-high 30 points, Blalock scored 14 of his 16 points after halftime, and James led a solid inside effort by the Tigers with eight points, nine rebounds and four assists, as Towson State took control with hot shooting in the second half and rolled to a 71-63 victory before 2,723 at the Carpenter Center.

The Tigers improved to 4-3 -- their best start in four years -- and will go to Coppin State tomorrow night with a three-game winning streak. Towson State also stopped the Blue Hens' (3-2) three-game winning streak by winning for only the second time in 13 attempts on the Delaware campus. This marked the Tigers' first visit to the Blue Hens' year-old, $20 million facility.

The game boiled down to a mismatch between backcourts, as Towson State's guards outscored Delaware's, 56-28. Even backup point guard Quintin Moody got into the act, scoring eight of his 10 points in the first half to help Towson State take a 31-26 halftime lead.

"We go into every game thinking we have the best backcourt. It's the backbone of our offense, and we feel we can explode at any time," said Blalock, Towson State's sophomore point guard who, along with James, hails from nearby Wilmington.

Blalock did not disappoint his fans. He continued his recent surge by torching the Blue Hens for 11 points in the first nine minutes of the second half, including two three-pointers. That helped the Tigers take a 53-40 lead that they never relinquished.

He also sparked Towson State on an eye-catching shooting exhibition. After intermission, the Tigers hit 13 of 16 shots (81.3 percent) to finish at 56.5 percent.

James did his part by hurting Delaware in every phase. His nine rebounds and four assists were team highs, and he had one of Towson State's seven blocked shots.

Alexander pretty much did the rest. He hit 11 of 16 shots to continue his climb up the Towson State career-scoring ladder. He now has 1,098 points and needs 24 to move into 12th place. He also made eight of 11 free throws, grabbed six rebounds, handed out four assists and blocked a team-high three shots.

"I felt like I didn't have a good game against Lehigh [a 77-69 victory Tuesday night]. I didn't want that to happen today," said Alexander, who sprained his left ankle in the closing minutes, but pronounced himself ready for Coppin State. "We wanted to take control early and dictate the pace, and that's what we did."

"He [Alexander] does so many good things that we take him for granted," Towson State coach Terry Truax said. "Our backcourt has given us some pretty consistent efforts lately. The big thing was our big men matched up better this time."

And this time the Towson State defense came through, forcing 10 first-half turnovers and holding the Blue Hens to 39 percent shooting overall. The Tigers took a 10-2 lead in the opening four minutes and held off two runs by the Blue Hens. Delaware finally took its only lead, 26-24, on a layup by Matt Strine with 2:01 left in the half.

Alexander and Blalock took over in the second half, scoring 19 points during the 22-14 run that gave Towson State a 53-40 advantage with 11:42 left. The Tigers stretched the lead to 61-47 with 7:56 to go.

But the Blue Hens refused to fold. They pulled to within 61-54 on a three-point play by Brian Pearl (12 points) with 5:56 left. After Pearl fouled out with 2:35 left, the Blue Hens cut the lead to 69-63 with a minute left on a layup by Rob Garner (16 points, five assists). But the Blue Hens went scoreless after that, and Garner fouled out with 27 seconds left.

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