Foul shots help Drexel master Towson again Dragons' 65-60 victory is 8th straight over Tigers

December 07, 1997|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

If ever there were a time when it appeared Towson was going to end the Drexel hex, it was last night.

The Tigers led most of the way against a Drexel team that isn't as imposing as in recent years. But they didn't lead when it mattered most.

The Dragons hit three of four foul shots down the stretch and Towson missed three straight at the line in the final 21 seconds, enabling Drexel to escape from the Towson Center with a 65-60 America East victory.

Sophomore Joe Linderman, last year's conference Rookie of the Year, scored a career-high 24 points in the Dragons' eighth consecutive win over the Tigers. The 6-foot-9 center added 10 rebounds for his first double double of the season.

Marlin Wise, a sophomore guard from Baltimore's Southern High, scored a career-high 16 points for the Tigers.

"We missed a lot of foul shots tonight but foul shots are an individual thing, it's not something I can control," said Wise, who went 1-for-1 at the line while his team converted just 10 of 19 free throws. "When you play against a team like Drexel, you have to make them count when you have the opportunity, and we didn't."

Junior guard Mike DeRocckis, who scored 20 points in each of the Dragons' first two victories, finished with 17 points, five assists and one steal; fellow guard Bryan Coursey chipped in 10 points and two steals.

Sophomore guard Raul dePablo, who made six of seven three-pointers for a career-high 18 points in Towson's two-point loss to Michigan, was held scoreless.

Towson senior forward Ralph Biggs, who was left off the America East preseason team despite being the league's top returning scorer, was limited to nine points -- less than half his average last season.

The Tigers (2-3, 0-2), who made the University of Michigan work to the wire to eke out a 75-72 victory, jumped out in front early. Wise led the assault, scoring the first eight points of the game.

Towson went ahead 17-11 on a three-pointer by Wise with 10: 15 left in the half but Drexel answered with a 9-3 run. Linderman, who was forced out of the game early with a cut on his hand, tied the game at 20 on his fourth basket with 6: 05 remaining.

A three-pointer by DeRocckis and a Linderman tip-in cut the lead to one in the waning seconds, but Biggs regained the momentum for the Tigers by hitting a three- pointer with one second left on the shot clock. Alphonso Hawes closed out the first-half scoring with a baseline jumper that put the hosts ahead at halftime, 33 -27.

"We were struggling a bit on offense early, but our defense turned it up a notch and kept us in it," Linderman said. "We know that if we play good defense, good things will happen down at the other end of the floor."

Pub Date: 12/07/97

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