Towson gives Jaskulski win over mentor Former assistant gets best of Keeling, Northeastern

January 25, 1998|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

The student beat the teacher at the Towson Center last night.

Mike Jaskulski served five years as an assistant to Rudy Keeling at the University of Maine in the early 1990s. Last night, they met for the first time as head coaches, and Jaskulski borrowed a few tricks from his old boss as Towson University defeated Northeastern, 63-52, in an America East game.

Keeling gave Jaskulski credit for learning his lessons well.

"It was like a mirror game, playing against ourselves," Keeling said. "A lot of things they ran -- their pressing defense and out-of-bounds plays -- were just like ours. Only they turned up the juice and took us out of our game."

It was a marked turnaround for the Tigers (4-12, 2-7), who were trounced by Boston University, 67-45, only two days ago.

They accomplished the job by limiting the Huskies (8-8, 4-4) to three points in the first 10 minutes of the second half, turning a 26-25 halftime deficit into a 45-29 lead.

Northeastern could not draw closer than 12 points until the final minute when the outcome was no longer in doubt.

The slashing moves of senior forward Ralph Biggs (20 points, nine rebounds) and the three-point shooting of sophomore guard Raul de Pablo (14 points, five assists) turned the momentum in Towson's favor.

De Pablo, a native of Spain, has been struggling with his shooting since converting six three-point shots in a near-upset of Michigan on Nov. 24.

He hit four of seven from three-point range against the Huskies, two of them early in the second half to give the Tigers a 44-29 lead.

"I'd been struggling for a long time," de Pablo said. "But tonight we ran a lot of back screens to get me open. I felt every time I shot the ball, it was going in."

Keeling said he was well aware of de Pablo's three-point potential.

"I think the problem was that we substituted a lot, and some of our guys just didn't give de Pablo as much respect as we needed. But we had to watch Biggs so much, that helped free up their other guys."

After shooting only 35 percent in the first half, Towson converted 65 percent (12-for-20) of its field-goal attempts in the second half, with crisp passing allowing Biggs to find seams in the lane for his patented swooping shots.

But more significant was the way the Tigers smothered the Huskies' offense in the second half, particularly their top scorer, Ty Mack, who was held to nine points, eight below his average, and scored two in the second half.

Keeling had a ready explanation.

"In the first half, we jumped out to an early lead [19-9], but we were shooting only jumpers from the perimeter," he said.

"We never utilized our post-up players. In the second half, they got a lot more aggressive playing our front-line guys. They really kept the ball out of Mack's hands, running a lot of double-teams at him."

Jaskulski also kept his starters fresh by repeatedly running in a second platoon for a few brief minutes.

"I think we're sold on playing as many as 11 people," he said. "Putting five new guys in gives us a lot of energy, if only for a minute or two."

Jaskulski would not gloat over besting his old boss.

"I love Coach Keeling to death," he said. "So much of what we do I learned from him. I feel real lucky to get this win."

Pub Date: 1/25/98

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