Towson State pulls away from Winthrop, 104-87

January 28, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

In the two years Towson State's basketball team has competed in the Big South Conference, one school, Winthrop, has proven the thorniest obstacle.

The Eagles were the only opponent to beat the Tigers twice last season, the second time unceremoniously knocking top seeded Towson out of the postseason tournament.

But times have changed.

Last night, the Tigers overpowered a short-handed Winthrop team with their superior talent and depth in the second half and rolled to their easiest victory of the season, 104-87.

It was the team's 13th straight win at the Towson Center, tying a record set twice previously. Towson (10-7, 5-2) can break the mark tomorrow against UNC-Asheville, the Big South's last-place team.

While surpassing the 100-point mark for the first time this season and eclipsing their previous single-game point high by 20, the Tigers won for the fifth time in the past six games.

With first-place Campbell losing to Liberty last night, all the league leaders have at least two losses, and Towson is a half-game out of first.

Winthrop (3-13, 2-6) stayed around for a half with torrid three-point shooting, but began to slip early in the second half as Towson's substitutions took their toll.

"This year, we definitely want to beat them while they're down," said Towson guard Scooter Alexander (team-high 23 points). "Last year, they had two go-to guys in the paint. But they're missing some people now."

The Eagles had only eight available players with Carlo Wilkins out with a separated shoulder and David McMahan missing for the year with a broken wrist.

Guard LaShawn Coulter led a first-half barrage of long-range shooting (nine three pointers) with six of eight from beyond the arc, keeping Winthrop within two, 48-46.

But Towson got a little more interested in playing defense after the break, tightened up on the bombers and steadily pulled away after Melvin Branham (game-high 32 points, 11 rebounds) kept the Eagles close.

The Tigers received 23 points from Alexander, 15 from Ralph Blalock and 12 each from Quintin Moody and John James.

Coach Terry Truax was pleased with the way his team stepped up the intensity level after the break and the contributions of the bench (38 points, 12 rebounds ).

"Our kids showed good maturity," said Truax. "I can see some things getting better. The train is starting to move. This team needed a game like this."

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