Towson is too much for Navy Tigers front line does most damage, 74-60

November 30, 1995|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

In its frustrating opening-game loss to Maryland on Monday night, Towson State relied almost exclusively on the scoring of backcourt stars Ralph Blalock and Scooter Alexander.

But the Tigers changed their script at Alumni Hall last night, using the front-line skills of senior Steve Thomas, transfer Matt Dellinger and solid contributions from reserves Derrick Earl and Ryan Lexer to earn a 74-60 victory over Navy.

"We had tremendous respect for their starting guards and we did a pretty good job of stopping them, " said Navy coach Don DeVoe. "But their inside guys did a terrific job of stepping out and hitting the perimeter shot."

Navy limited Blalock, last year's team scoring leader, to two field goals in 35 minutes. But the Tigers simply had too much talent and superior speed at almost every position.

The Midshipmen, who whipped Air Force in overtime Saturday night, played catch-up most of the night against the Tigers. After falling behind 35-21 in the first half, they rallied to pull within 44-43 with 14:31 remaining.

But Navy managed only three field goals in the next 10 minutes while Thomas (18 points) and Alexander (15) sponsored a 17-6 run to gain a 61-49 advantage.

The Mids closed to 61-53 on a three-pointer by Michael Heary (18 points) with 3:48 left, but could not draw closer.

"Coach [Terry Truax] talked to me about being patient and letting the game come to me when we played Maryland," said Thomas, a 6-foot-7 product of Walbrook High. "But tonight, our guards made a more conscious effort of working the ball inside and getting everyone involved."

But it was Thomas' outside shooting that bedeviled the Mids, with most of his eight baskets on 12 attempts coming on 10- to 15-foot jumpers.

"I've always had a good outside touch, but I didn't always have the confidence to take it," he said. "But I'm a senior now, and I have to step up my offense."

Said Truax: "Thomas looks like he should be a power forward for the Bullets. But he's capable of hitting that medium-range jumper when he squares up to the basket."

Thomas, who did most of the muscle work last season, has a strong assistant in Dellinger, who transferred from Cleveland State. A solid 6-7 junior, Dellinger contributed 11 points and helped negate Navy's 6-11 center, Alex Kohnen.

Truax was pleased with the way his guards accepted the change in tempo after their run-and-shoot contest with Maryland.

"We didn't get the quick baskets we did against Maryland, but Blalock and Alexander played a more controlled half-court game," he said.

After jumping to a quick 8-2 lead, the Navy offense suffered through fits and starts. The only consistency was supplied by angular 6-8 sophomore center Josh Height, who made 11 of 18 shots, scored a game-high 23 points and snared nine rebounds.

Limited to junior varsity last season, the Richmond native played only 11 minutes against Air Force before fouling out. But Height played 36 highly active minutes last night and seems deserving of his starting role.

"I didn't make the trip to Scandinavia with the team this summer," Height said. "But I stayed home and really worked on my game."

Said DeVoe: "He showed a nice touch inside, and he did surprisingly well defensively playing against a lot of wide bodies."

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