Towson tops Charleston Southern

January 18, 1994|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

Ahead by 10 points in the early going against a team headed to its fifth losing season in the past six, Towson State figured to cruise to an easy Big South Conference victory last night.

The Tigers figured wrong. A young Charleston Southern team brushed itself off in the first half by scoring 13 straight points and led with 10 minutes to go, before Towson State reversed its field and pulled away for an 84-76 win before 121 fans who ignored the elements to get to the Towson Center.

The game began an important week in the Big South for the Tigers (8-6, 3-1), who will try to extend their Towson Center winning streak to 13 games tomorrow (7:30 p.m.), when they play UMBC. Towson State then travels to North Carolina to face league leader Campbell Saturday and UNC-Greensboro Monday.

Charleston Southern (3-9, 1-4), which lost at UMBC on Saturday, has had to replace its leader of the last two seasons, Douglass grad and Baltimore City Community College product Darnell Sneed. With a transfer from Clemson, a sophomore and four freshmen among their top seven scorers, however, the Buccaneers are not without potential.

"They have a good future, but these are games we have to win," said Towson State coach Terry Truax, who lamented his team's poor first-half shooting against a team that is allowing nearly 92 points a game. "Offensively, I thought we could have executed much better."

Eight minutes into the second half, Towson State committed four turnovers in 49 seconds, and Charleston Southern jumped on that to erase a 53-46 deficit. A pair of free throws by Eric Burks, a transfer from Clemson, put the Buccaneers on top 56-55 with 10:44 left.

John James put the Tigers ahead for good with a follow basket, however, and freshman guard Michael Keyes, who's playing with a broken nose, got two hustling baskets to put them ahead 61-56 with 9:22 left. Charleston Southern was still within 73-70 heading into the last four minutes, but Towson State scored the next seven points to seal the outcome.

Towson State made 60.7 percent (17 of 28) of its field-goal attempts in the second half. Sophomore guard Ralph Blalock led the Tigers with 24 points, 16 in the first half, and grabbed nine rebounds. James, Towson's senior center, had 18 points and six rebounds, junior guard Scooter Alexander got 10 of his 14 points in the second half, and senior forward Matt Campbell chipped in nine. Campbell and Alexander had nine rebounds apiece.

Freshman forward Jeff Daniels led Charleston Southern with 18 points.

The Tigers scored nine straight points, the last five by Blalock, to break away from an early 8-8 tie, and led by as many as 10 at 20-10 and 22-12. They completely wasted the momentum, however, falling behind 29-25 by allowing the Buccaneers to go on a 13-0 run that included consecutive three-pointers by freshman Brett Larrick.

Freshman guard DeRon Robinson helped Towson State reassert itself, but Charleston Southern forced a 38-38 tie on Daniels' three-pointer with three seconds left in the half.

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