Drexel ousts Towson in foul affair, 78-75 Tigers also miss 3-pointer with 5 seconds left, irked by free-throw disadvantage

March 02, 1997|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

NEWARK, Del. -- An inspired Towson State virtually outplayed powerful Drexel all night and had a chance to win the America East quarterfinal game at the end.

But an inbounds play under the Towson basket went awry with five seconds left and the Tigers fell, 78-75, to the heavily favored Dragons.

"I feel like we didn't lose this game, we just got outscored," Towson coach Terry Truax said.

Drexel, which has played in three consecutive NCAA tournaments, got all 78 points from four players -- rare in any college game, much less a tournament encounter.

America East Rookie of the Year Joe Linderman led with 23 points, America East first-team selection Jeff Myers scored 22, third-team all-league choice Chuck Guittar had 21 and guard Mike DeRocckis scored 12.

With last night's game on the line, Towson State had the ball out-of-bounds with 13.8 seconds remaining and was trailing 77-75. Truax designed a play to go inside to Derick Newton in hopes of getting a basket and a foul.

Newton, who led Towson with 20 points last night, had been hot down the stretch but the Tigers couldn't get the ball to him and went to Florian Schneider, who took an off-balance three-point jumper from the right side.

But Schneider's jumper with five seconds left never got to the rim and Drexel came away with the ball, forcing Damon Cason to foul Drexel's Jeff Myers with 3.5 seconds remaining.

Myers hit one of two free throws to give Drexel a 78-75 lead, and Cason took a desperation shot from half-court at the buzzer.

Cason's shot fell short and Towson State's impossible dream and season was over.

But Towson State (9-19) deserved much better last night against the 21-7 Dragons.

Second-seeded Drexel had much more size, more talent and quickness than the Tigers but still needed 30 free throws in 35 trips to the line compared to 14 free throws in 16 tries for 10th-seeded Towson State.

That free-throw difference left Truax and his players steaming.

"I told one official the people didn't come here to watch me coach and I know they didn't come here to watch the officials take over a game and intimidate players," Truax said.

"The same official made derogatory comments to my players three times. One time he came up to Derick Newton when he was ready to shoot a free throw and said something derogatory. It was a physical game on both sides and no way there should have been such a discrepancy in fouls [26 for Towson to 17 for Drexel]."

Towson State's Ralph Biggs, who fouled out with 3: 26 remaining the game on a controversial charging call, said: "We really didn't expect to get any calls tonight. We're just lowly Towson State and they're high and mighty Drexel.

"On my fifth foul, Myers fell down long before I got near him and they called it on me. Maybe next year we'll be able to get what Towson deserves."

Biggs had 13 points last night and Marlin Wise had 14.

America East tournament

At Newark, Del.

First round

Friday

Maine 76, New Hampshire 47

Towson State 72, N'eastern 69

Quarterfinals

Yesterday

Delaware 86, Hofstra 73

Boston U. 67, Maine 49

Drexel 78, Towson State 75

Hartford 70, Vermont 44

Semifinals

Today

Delaware vs. Boston U., 1 p.m.

Drexel vs. Hartford, 3: 30 p.m.

Championship

Friday

Semifinal winners, 4: 30 p.m.,

at higher-seeded team

Pub Date: 3/02/97

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