Rowe gets Loyola past Towson Guard's late heroics help down Tigers, 73-71

December 14, 1997|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

Towson University held Loyola's Mike Powell, the nation's second-leading scorer to 13 points -- 15 below his average. But the Tigers could not find a way to control sophomore point guard Jason Rowe, who was involved in almost every big play in the closing minutes as the Greyhounds recorded their first home victory of the season, 73-71, before a lively crowd of 1,328.

Rowe finished with 25 points and 10 assists, and made game-saving plays on both ends of the floor in the last 81 seconds.

With Towson (2-5) leading 71-69, Rowe made the last of his four three-pointers to put Loyola ahead, 72-71 with 1: 21 remaining.

"I saw they were cutting off the passing lanes to Powell," Rowe said. "They left me alone, the clock was running down and I felt comfortable shooting the three tonight."

The Tigers appeared to recapture the lead when guard Damon Cason drove the baseline and banked home a layup. But Cason ran into Powell and was charged with an offensive foul, nullifying the basket.

Towson then fouled Rowe. He missed the first, and Towson coach Mike Jaskulski called time to make the Greyhounds' playmaker think about his important shot.

Rowe said, "After I missed the first one, I started talking to myself, reminding myself to stay cool and take my time on the line."

The self-analysis helped. Rowe made the second free throw for a 73-71 lead and Towson called its final timeout with 13 seconds left.

"We were looking to inbound the ball to Ralph Biggs [18 points], and he looked like he was open," said Jaskulski. "But Rowe deflected the ball to Marlin Wise. We were lucky to get as good a shot as we did."

With Rowe leaping toward him, Wise's high-arcing shot from the corner bounced off the rim and, Rowe (who else?) hauled down the final rebound.

"We need Jason to play with consistency," said Dino Gaudio, Loyola's first-year coach. "He has to bring the intensity with him to every practice and game. When he does that, he has the potential to be one of the best point guards in the area."

With Powell suffering a rare off night shooting -- 5-for-14 -- Gaudio had several players besides Rowe filling the offensive void.

Freshman guard Ryan Blosser, making his first start in place of Jamal Hunter, scored a career-high 10 points, converting all four of his field-goal attempts, including a three-pointer.

And 6-10 junior center Roderick Platt, who has been a slump, responded with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds as Loyola enjoyed a 29-21 edge on the boards.

"The biggest thing we did tonight was give a sustained effort for 40 minutes," said Gaudio. "In the past, we'd have lapses for five or six minutes and it would us a game."

Jaskulski was saying the same thing about his team, which has failed to recapture the magic it displayed in its spirited 75-72 loss to Michigan last month.

The Tigers, with Biggs leading the way, jumped out to a 17-5 lead in the first nine minutes, but trailed at halftime, 37-36.

They played Loyola (2-6) even for most of the second half and moved to a 71-67 lead on a slam dunk by Ryan Lexer with 2: 51 remaining. But that would be their last points of the game.

"We're struggling to make the big stop defensively in the last four or five games," said Jaskulski. "We've had leads from two to six points, but can't deliver the big play, and that cost us against Drexel and Delaware, and again tonight. We've got to learn to win the close ones."

Pub Date: 12/14/97

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