Hofstra's sharpshooters take aim at Towson, 68-55 Quick backcourt, barrage of 3-pointers sink Tigers

December 13, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

The game seemed so simple for Hofstra last night in a 68-55 victory over Towson in the America East opener for both teams.

Just give the ball to lightning-quick junior guard Craig Claxton and let him explode to the basket and find an open man.

Claxton, last season's America East Player of the Year, blew past the Tigers time after time to open up scoring opportunities for the Flying Dutchmen (4-4) against the Tigers (1-5).

Claxton was credited with just four assists, but his passes almost always led indirectly or directly to baskets. He also had 11 points and two steals.

Claxton took Towson completely out of the game in a one-minute stretch late in the second half when he twice penetrated the lane and dished the ball back to senior sharpshooter Tim Beckett for three-pointers.

Beckett's second straight three-pointer off an assist from Claxton gave Hofstra a 67-49 lead.

Beckett wound making six of seven three-pointers for a game-high 18 points in just 21 minutes.

"I don't understand why we allowed a known three-point shooter like Beckett so many wide-open looks," said a slightly angry Towson coach Mike Jaskulski. "We're a frustrated team right now. We know what our problems are but we have not got them corrected. We're losing because we turn the ball over too much and are getting out-rebounded."

Hofstra and Towson each had 17 turnovers last night, and the Flying Dutchmen had a 28-24 edge on the boards.

Jaskulski also believes his team has to get more mentally tough to be successful against a quick team such as Hofstra, the preseseason pick to finish second in the America East.

"We can't sit here and blame our problems on not having Marlin Wise [academically ineligible] and Torin Ragin [out with a stress fracture]. Everybody has injuries," said Jaskulski.

The two Beckett three-pointers last night followed a controversial foul on Towson's Pete Mauro that gave Hofstra's Mike Renfro three free throws to make it 61-49.

"I never touched him," said Mauro on the foul, which occurred while Renfro was throwing up a three-pointer. "That hurt us a lot, but we just didn't play close to as well as we expected to in our league opener. "

Mauro led Towson with 14 points, Josh Davalli had 12 and Guy Zenou 10 despite playing with a stress fracture.

However, the Towson player who never stopped hustling was sophomore forward Brian Barber, who led all rebounders in the game with nine and had six points.

Pub Date: 12/13/98

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