Towson State stays in control, cruises by Northeastern, 78-65 Blalock scores 24 to help Tigers improve to 6-5

January 12, 1996|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Towson State hasn't defeated a team with a winning record this season, but that wasn't a concern last night. Not with Northeastern bringing one victory and loads of frustration into the game.

A pushover? At times, the Huskies looked like one. But not early in the second half, when they cut an 18-point deficit to five and had the Tigers on the ropes.

It didn't last. Scooter Alexander made a couple baskets, Towson tightened up its defense and the school's first home game in the North Atlantic Conference was a 78-65 success at the Towson Center.

Senior forward Ralph Blalock scored 24 points and Alexander chipped in with 15 to lead Towson.

The Tigers improved to 6-5 overall and 2-1 in the NAC. Northwestern (1-11) hasn't won a conference game in five tries, the first time that's happened in school history.

This was the third time that Terry Truax hadn't coached a game in 13 seasons at Towson State. He was assessed two technicals in last Saturday's loss at Maine and had to sit this one out in accordance with NAC rules. Assistant Jim Meil served as acting coach.

Except for parts of the second half, Meil had plenty to enjoy.

"The kids came out ready to play tonight," said Meil, who is 2-1 when filling in for Truax. "Anyone could have coached them tonight."

Northeastern had shot horribly until making its run. The Tigers then scored 10 straight points, the first four on a jumper and dunk by Alexander. Junior center Matt Dellinger set up the jam with a block and outlet pass.

Northeastern's Marcus Wills (15 points) was called for an offensive foul, and Ryan Lexer made two free throws. Dellinger stole the ball at midcourt and went in for a dunk. Michael Keyes (13 points) hit twice from the line for a 53-38 bulge.

The Huskies got the lead back down to nine with 5:04 left, not allowing Meil to get too comfortable. But Keyes hit from the outside and Alexander blocked a shot and passed to Blalock, who drew the foul and made both free throws.

Disaster averted.

"Our team has had stretches in games when it falls asleep, and Northeastern plays hard. We knew they'd make a couple of runs," Meil said. "When a team is coming back, you have to respond."

Damon Singletary scored 15 points for Northeastern, which shot 35 percent from the field. Lonnie Harrell, a transfer from Georgetown, added 14.

The Huskies came out cold and stayed that way, going 8-for-31 from the field in the first half, making 11 turnovers and falling behind by 18 points. They never led and there was just one tie, 2-2, which dissolved in a 13-2 Towson run.

From there, the Tigers poured it on, getting 13 points from Blalock and 10 from Alexander. Towson shot 55 percent, taking advantage of Northeastern's inability at times to get back on defense with easy transition layups.

The Huskies, winners of 18 games last season, missed all seven shots from beyond the arc and seemed to be improvising most of the half -- without much success.

Towson's Michael Keyes, a junior guard who has replaced Quintin Moody in the starting lineup, didn't score in the first half, but he handed out five assists.

PTC

NORTHEASTERN UNIV. -- Harrell 7-20 0-1 14, McIntosh 4-9 3-4 13, Harmon 0-5 0-0 0, Singletary 5-12 3-4 15, Wills 4-12 7-7 15, Clemente 0-1 0-0 0, Miller 0-2 0-0 0, Lattimore 1-2 1-1 3, Fraser 0-0 1-2 1, Powell 0-0 0-0 0, McGraw 0-0 0-0 0, Cox 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 23-66 15-19 65.

TOWSON STATE -- Blalock 8-13 5-7 24, Thomas 3-4 0-0 6, Earl 1-6 2-4 4, Alexander 7-10 1-2 15, Keyes 1-4 11-12 13, Biggs 1-1 0-0 2, Schneider 0-1 0-0 0, Moody 0-0 0-0 0, Lexer 1-2 3-4 5, Dellinger 4-7 1-1 9. Totals 26-48 23-30 78.

Halftime--Towson State, 38-20. 3-point goals--N 4-14 (McIntosh 2-3, Singletary 2-4, Harrell 0-2, Miller 0-2, Wills 0-3); TS 3-8 (Blalock 3-5, Schneider 0-1, Keyes 0-2). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--N 44 (Singletary 7); TS 28 (Alexander 7). Assists--N 11 (Wills 3); TS 14 (Keyes 5). Total fouls--N 20, TS 18. A--625.

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