Towson streaks by Morgan 11-0 run stems rally, 62-48

1st game since '79

December 02, 1997|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

Coming off its emotionally charged near-upset of Michigan last week, it was natural to expect Towson University's basketball team to experience a letdown against Morgan State last night.

But no one could anticipate how the Tigers would have to struggle before putting away the winless Bears, 62-48, at the Towson Center.

Towson (2-1) displayed little of the crispness or cohesiveness on offense it exhibited against the Wolverines while being harassed into 29 turnovers by the Bears' scrambling defense. But the Tigers still managed to build a 42-25 lead six minutes into the second half.

Then the cold-shooting Bears (0-3), who had lost their past two road games against Georgetown and defending national champion Arizona by 48 and 62 points, respectively, threw a scare into the Tigers.

Led by former Lake Clifton star Ronnie Van Hook and forward Rasheed Sparks (team-high 11 points), Morgan closed to 51-46 when Gilman product Jimmy Fields converted one of three free throws with 2: 41 remaining.

But Towson suddenly regained its poise and used the clock to its advantage. Layups by Ryan Lexer and Derick Newton sparked an 11-0 run that finally put the Bears to rest in the schools' first meeting in 18 years.

"I think we were feeling a little happy about how we played against Michigan and took Morgan State for granted," said Newton, who scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the second half.

But first-year Towson coach Mike Jaskulski had a different interpretation.

"I think we were ready to play, but Morgan's defense disrupted us," he said. "We didn't find our offensive rhythm until the final minutes when Morgan got a little desperate.

"The main thing is we forgot where our bread is buttered. We weren't playing Michigan tonight. That's why we had to do a better job of getting the ball inside to Lexer and Newton. We need more floor balance if we're going to win in our league."

Morgan State blamed its 34 percent shooting on a letdown after the awesome experience of playing Arizona.

Bears coach Chris Fuller said this was particularly true of Fields, who is expected to run the offense and provide timely scoring.

The 5-foot-10 sophomore, who transferred from North Carolina-Charlotte, made only one of seven shots, finishing with three points and six turnovers while being policed by Marlin Wise.

"I don't think it was that Wise gave Jimmy problems," said Fuller. "You can't expect a young player to perform well every night, especially after just going against Georgetown and Arizona."

Morgan actually led 13-9 after the first six minutes, but Towson, sparked by Lexer and Ralph Biggs (15 points), went on an 11-point tear and continued to pad the lead until its brief second-half scare.

MORGAN STATE -- King 2-7 0-1 4, Lewis 2-2 1-2 5, Canady 0-0 0-0 0, Fields 1-7 1-3 3, Hutchinson 1-2 0-0 2, Byrd 2-10 2-7 8, Rucker 1-3 0-0 3, Sparks 5-15 1-2 11, Van Hook 3-6 3-4 9, Dalton 1-1 0-0 2, Qualls 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 18-53 48.

TOWSON -- Biggs 4-9 6-8 15, Newton 5-6 9-13 19, Hawes 0-3 0-0 0, Wise 1-4 0-0 3, de Pablo 1-3 2-2 5, Grey 0-1 0-0 0, Harp 0-1 1-2 1, Cason 2-4 4-6 10, Lexer 4-5 0-0 9. Totals 17-36 62.

Halftime--Towson 35, Morgan State 24. 3-point goals--Towson 6-11 (Cason 2-3, Lexer 1-1, Biggs 1-2, Wise 1-2, de Pablo 1-2, Newton 0-1), Morgan State 3-19 (Byrd 2-7, Rucker 1-2, Sparks 0-5, Fields 0-4, Van Hook 0-1). Fouled out--Biggs. Rebounds--Towson 34 (Hawes 8), Morgan State 30 (Sparks 6). Total fouls--Towson 18, Morgan State 25. A--1,150.

Pub Date: 12/02/97

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