Towson home streak hits 19, 75-74

February 22, 1994|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Contributing Writer

Towson State coach Terry Truax said after last night's game that Ralph Blalock should shoot more, be more aggressive and take quicker shots off screens.

That's a pretty tough critique on Blalock, who hit 12 of 13 shots for a game-high 26 points, and virtually carried the Tigers to a 75-74 win over UNC-Greensboro in a Big South Conference game last night before 1,067 at Towson Center.

"We are probably the worst team in the nation in setting screens, but Ralph still isn't really concerned about hitting the shot right after the screen. He takes one dribble and then hits it," Truax said. "He's athletic and can get away with that. He gets 26 points in 25 minutes; yet he's not as aggressive as I would like him to be.

"But I am sure glad he is in a Towson State uniform," Truax said with a smile.

Blalock scored half of the Tigers' 36 second-half points and hit his first 11 shots to tie a 8-year old school record by Michael Fink.

He also sparked both of Towson State's biggest runs in each half.

"I game in with the mind set to shoot more because I had only six

shots in my last game," said Blalock, who was unaware of his hot streak. "Coach said he wanted me to take more shots and I think it helped down the stretch."

The Tigers (18-8, 13-3), who remain first in the conference by a half-game over Radford and one game over Campbell, extended the nation's eighth-longest home winning streak to 19 games.

Towson State, which went unbeaten at Towson Center for an entire season for the first time in school history, also concluded its second straight season in the Big South undefeated at home.

Although Towson State did not make a field goal in the final 1:51, it held off UNC-Greensboro (14-11, 10-6) for its fourth straight victory.

"I thought this game felt like a tournament game," Truax said.

A layup by Michael Keyes on a 3-on-1 fast break put the Tigers ahead 73-68 with 1:51 remaining. Two jumpers by Spartans guard Scott Hartzell closed the lead to 73-72 with 35 seconds left.

UNC-Greensboro then sent Matt Campbell to the foul line with 17 seconds left. He made both to give the Tigers a 75-72 margin.

The Tigers' swarming perimeter defense prevented a three-point try and forced UNC-Greensboro to go inside for an Eric Cuthrell slam to make it 75-74. The Spartans then put Towson State's John James at the foul line with five seconds left. He missed both free throws, but the Spartans were unable to get a shot off before the buzzer.

The Tigers opened up their biggest lead at 68-61 on a 9-0 run, sparked by Blalock's six points.

UNC-Greensboro was held scoreless for nearly six minutes during that Towson State spurt.

"We just started scrambling more around them on defense," said James, who injured his left knee early in the second half but was able to return.

"We were denying everything, especially the entry passes."

The Spartans ended their drought by scoring seven unanswered points in a minute to tie the game at 68 with 2:30 left in the game.

Scooter Alexander then converted a three-point play and Keyes' layup gave Towson the 73-68 cushion which it never gave up.

The night marked the last home game for Campbell (Broadneck), James, Andrew Mason and Patrick Manning (St. Mary's).

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