Towson beats Coastal Carolina

January 16, 1994|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

The three-guard lineup is in vogue again at Towson State.

Things began to turn around for coach Terry Truax in 1986-87, when Bill Leonard, Marty Johnson, Michael Fink and Tommy Jones were working on the perimeter. The Tigers also got great mileage out of the backcourt combination of Kurk Lee, Devin Boyd and Lew Waller, and later Terrance Jacobs was introduced as a small forward even though he was only 6 feet 3.

Now, meet the three-guard set of junior Scooter Alexander and sophomores Ralph Blalock and Quintin Moody. The three starting guards combined for 53 points last night on 62.5 percent shooting, as Towson State held off Coastal Carolina, 80-74, for a Big South Conference win at Towson Center.

Blalock, who on occasion last year gave the Tigers a three-guard look when he teamed with Alexander and all-time leading scorer Devin Boyd, played nearly a perfect game. He made nine of 12 field goals and all six of his free throws for 24 points, and also collected nine rebounds, five steals and three assists.

Alexander, who is bothered by the ankle sprain that briefly sidelined him last month, delivered his expected 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting. Moody made the most of his second straight start, as the Cardinal Gibbons High grad scored a career-high 12 points.

"It's not by design that we're playing three guards, it's by necessity," said Truax, who hasn't been pleased with the inconsistent play of his big men. "I'd like to get more production out of the other positions, but those three were the answer tonight."

A three-pointer by Moody and a follow basket by Blalock got the Tigers a 5-0 lead, and they were up by 14 late in the first half. The Tigers led 77-61 with 1:46 left, before the Chanticleers rallied to make the final score much closer.

Blalock scored seven points in an 80-second span to create some distance between the teams after Coastal Carolina had crept to within seven points with eight minutes remaining. He knew he had to fill the void left by the departure of Boyd, the atypical point guard and all-time leading scorer. Moody, meanwhile, hopes to make the most of his chance as a more traditional point guard.

"I've got to prove I can do the job," Moody said. "I'm more of a traditional point guard, and my job is to get everyone involved in the offense."

Last night's game matched the teams picked in the preseason (( to go 1-2 in the Big South, but it took a while for the emotion that normally surrounds that kind of matchup to surface.

Even after freshman Michael Keyes needed five minutes to recover from an elbow to the nose from Chanticleers forward Mohammed Acha, the two didn't go after each other like they did last year, when Towson State (7-6, 2-1) ruled the regular season and Coastal Carolina (7-5, 2-2) won the postseason tournament for the third time in four years.

Truax has criticized his team's lack of emotion, and Russ Bergman, his counterpart at Coastal Carolina, has had to deal with the specter of an NCAA probe. The NCAA is investigating an assortment of possible violations by the Chanticleers.

"It [NCAA investigation] may be bothering us, but only because people are writing about it," guard Joey Hart said.

"I felt we were ready to play, but Towson State shot awfully well at the start, and they beat us to so many loose balls."

Junior guard Keke Hicks led the Chanticleers with 28 points, including 19 in the second half, and senior forward Acha had 25 and nine rebounds. Center John James had eight points and seven rebounds for the Tigers, and forwards Stevie Thomas and Matt Campbell combined for 17 points.

The Tigers are unbeaten at Towson Center the past year. They've won 11 straight since a Jan. 9, 1993, nonconference loss

to Delaware.

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