Towson comes up short again, loses in OT, 68-63 Delaware drops Tigers in rugged, defensive game

December 10, 1997|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

As is usually the case in a rugged, emotional, often poor-shooting, turnover-filled ballgame, it all comes down to one play.

It was no different at the Towson Center last night when luckless Towson (2-4) fell to Delaware, 68-63, in overtime and dropped to 0-3 in the America East conference.

Towson, which had gotten a big three-pointer from Marlin Wise -- his only field goal of the game -- to force the extra session, built a three-point lead on Ryan Lexer's nifty move in the lane before Delaware's Keith Davis moved toward a crowd under the basket.

There was no way he was going to get a shot up, much less put it in. But, past the backboard, Davis somehow reached back and angled the ball in off the glass.

More importantly, he was fouled by Lexer, the Tigers' leading scorer with 21 points. Worse, it was Lexer's fifth foul.

It wasn't until the game was well under way that Davis, who led the Blue Hens (4-4, 2-1) with 21 points, showed up in the team's offense.

Once aboard, however, there was no stopping him. He also led Delaware in rebounds (10) and assists (six).

"Since the Drexel game, we've talked about getting Davis more driving opportunities. We even added a set in which we reverse the ball to him. We got a few of those tonight. But he needs to FTC create some things for himself off the drive."

That Davis or anyone else couldn't find room to operate comes as no surprise. Both teams played dogged, unrelenting defense throughout.

The result, according to Towson coach Mike Jaskulski, was the way reed-thin Ralph Biggs (6 feet 6, 162 pounds) gets buffeted around when he attempts any action down low.

"It's so physical now," said the coach, "Ralph simply can't get to where he wants to go. I hate to say it, but he needs to get a call or two."

The teams were tied at 13 after 10 minutes and offensive "fireworks" remained at about that level until the rivals arrived at 44-44 with four minutes remaining. Neither team could get more than a two-point advantage until the visitors converted one of two foul shots for a 53-50 lead with less than 30 seconds remaining.

That's when Wise came through with his long-range bomb, just one of nine connections he had in the game. Once Davis gave his team a three-point lead at 61-58 with his drive and foul shot, Delaware extended it to a five-point edge and Towson never got close again.

"Our defense has been solid all along in our league games," said Jaskulski. "We always seem to have the other team where we want them, playing very tough for 25 or 30 seconds, then something goes wrong.

"We just haven't been able to get it done in the last five minutes of games."

Before this setback, Towson lost to Hofstra by six points and Drexel by five, both times after leading midway in the second half.

DELAWARE -- Pegues 1-3 2-3 4, Davis 8-13 4-8 21, Presley 2-3 2-4 6, Perry 1-7 5-6 8, Marciulionis 3-11 2-4 11, Bennett 3-4 1-2 7, Miller 3-8 0-0 9, Niang 0-0 0-0 0, Diouf 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 22-51 16-27 68.

TOWSON -- Biggs 4-6 5-6 13, Newton 3-5 0-1 6, Hawes 1-4 0-0 2, Wise 1-9 0-0 3, de Pablo 1-3 3-3 6, Grey 0-1 0-0 0, Harp 0-0 0-0 0, Cason 2-6 4-4 10, Lexer 8-11 5-9 21, Logan 1-3 0-1 2. Totals 21-48 17-24 63.

Halftime--Towson, 25-24. 3-point goals--UD 8-24 (Miller 3-6, Marciulionis 3-10, Davis 1-3, Perry 1-5); TU 4-17 (Cason 2-5, de Pablo 1-2, Wise 1-6, Biggs 0-1, Grey 0-1, Logan 0-1, Newton 0-1). Rebounds--UD 34 (Davis 10); TU 32 (Lexer 10). Assists--UD 8 (Davis 6); TU 11 (Cason 5). Total fouls--UD 21, TU 25. A--1,206.

Pub Date: 12/10/97

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