Hipp, Terps run off and hide from Towson, 109-71

December 24, 1993|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

The Maryland Terrapins and Towson State Tigers were both coming off lengthy layoffs. And after what the Terps did to it last night, Towson State probably wishes it had taken a few more days off.

Showing no signs of rustiness after 16 days off, the Terps blitzed Towson State with relentless defensive pressure early, saw sophomore forward Exree Hipp score a career-high 35 points, and generally did whatever they pleased, rolling to a 109-71 rout before 12,581 at the Baltimore Arena.

Towson State (4-5), which had not played in 10 days, was overmatched from the opening tip.

Maryland (6-1) prepared for next week's Abdow Hall of Fame Classic in Springfield, Mass., by running its record against Towson State to 9-0.

On a night when every Maryland starter enjoyed fine moments, Hipp stood out. He scored 22 points in the first half on 9-for-10 shooting and went on to hit 14 of 16 -- including 4-for-4 from three-point range.

"I've never had a half like that. It could have been 15-for-16, but I missed a layup," said Hipp, whose Terps jumped out to a 17-2 lead. "I was kind of surprised. I thought they played better defense than that. I kept getting open, and they [his teammates] were getting me the ball.

"We didn't expect this to happen," Hipp added. "All we saw was the tape of the St. John's game [Towson's season-opening victory]. I thought they would switch to more pressure in the second half, but they stayed in a zone."

Whatever defense Towson State threw at them, the Terps solved it, barely breaking a sweat. Sparked by Hipp's play inside and outside, they bolted to a 26-point halftime lead.

Forward Keith Booth, making his first local appearance since graduating from Dunbar last year, scored a career-high 18 points, grabbed six rebounds and added four assists. Center Joe Smith had 12 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots to register the third double-double of his freshman season.

The Terps forced 30 turnovers, dished out 31 assists to Towson State's seven, shot 55.1 percent and held the Tigers to 34.8 percent.

"Everything we could have done wrong, we did wrong. We got beat bad," said Towson State guard Scooter Alexander, another Dunbar grad who played before numerous friends and family members. "We had to come out and dictate the pace, or we were going to get embarrassed."

Alexander's night typified the Tigers' frustration. Held scoreless for the first nine minutes while Maryland bolted to a 25-4 lead, he managed 10 first-half points, but went scoreless after intermission. He made only three of 15 shots. Ralph Blalock, Alexander's backcourt mate who had been the team's hottest player, managed only four points.

Michael Keyes came off the bench to lead the Tigers with 13 points.

"I could tell we were ready to play. We had a good practice up here yesterday," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "I thought our defensive pressure was the key early. That led to some easy baskets and gave us some confidence, which is what you need after a layoff."

Towson State's lone highlight came in the opening seconds, when Stevie Thomas' tip-in gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead. After that, Maryland wasted no time using its pressure defense to devour the Tigers.

In their next two possessions, the Tigers failed to get the ball past halfcourt. Jump shots by Hipp, Booth and a three-point play by Smith quickly gave the Terps a 7-2 lead. The 17-point run was on.

From there, Hipp put the Terps on his shoulders, scoring 11 of the next 13 points. He started the run with a dunk off an alley-oop pass from Duane Simpkins. Hipp was assessed a technical foul for hanging on the rim, but Blalock missed both free throws.

Hipp went back to work with a layup and another slam to make it 13-2, prompting Towson State coach Terry Truax to call a timeout. That didn't slow Maryland a bit, as two more Tigers turnovers led to layups by Rhodes and Hipp to put Towson State in a 17-2 hole.

Blalock finally ended a five-minute scoring drought by hitting a 10-footer. Hipp answered with his first three-pointer. Simpkins stole the ball, made a difficult layup and converted a three-point play, and Nick Bosnic made a layup to extend the Terps' lead to 25-4.

Alexander awakened to score the Tigers' next eight points, but that only brought the Tigers to within 32-13 with 7:54 left.

Hipp saved one more spurt for the closing minutes. He scored five straight points to make it 37-15, then finished his 22-point half with a short jumper to make it 44-21.

By the time the Tigers' nightmarish half was over, they had shot 29.4 percent, committed 20 turnovers and were staring at a 55-29 deficit.

"Maryland came out with tremendous effort and intensity," Truax said. "I can't remember a time when we looked that unmotivated. We did not look prepared and that upsets me as a coach."

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