A jump start, some electricity and a lot of leadership on the floor.
The Towson University basketball team has needed those while struggling to a 1-9 record.
The Tigers should get a boost in those areas today when junior point guard Marlin Wise is expected to become academically eligible for the first time this season.
The Tigers found out again last night how much they miss Wise when they stayed with Boston University before falling, 66-58, in a slow-paced America East game at the Towson Center.
It was the eighth straight loss overall for Towson and the fifth in a row at home. It is the third time in the 22-year history of the Towson Center the Tigers have lost five straight there.
"We can't expect one man like Marlin to turn it all around for us," said Towson freshman forward Brian Barber, who led his team in scoring with 14. "But he will give us a lot of energy, and he's a presence on the floor. I really do feel good about the rest of the season with Marlin coming back and the rest of the team showing much more life tonight than we did the last time out."
Towson (1-9, 0-2) had several opportunities to win down the stretch last night, trailing once by three points and twice by four. But each time, the much-quicker Terriers (5-5, 1-1) answered with beautiful plays by senior guard LeVar Folk that summed up the difference in the teams.
The first big play by Folk came after Towson's Josh Davalli hit a three-pointer to reduce the Boston lead to 50-47 with 7: 09 left.
Davalli brought the Towson crowd to life for the first time in the game, but Folk silenced the fans 20 seconds later with what may have been the play of the game.
Folk exploded down the left side of the foul lane, shed three Towson defenders along the baseline and flipped the ball off the glass for a spectacular layup and a 52-47 lead with 6: 49 remaining.
The second outstanding play came with three minutes left, when he slithered virtually untouched along the baseline for a layup that pushed the Boston lead to 57-51 after freshman Shaun Holtz had hit a turnaround 15-foot jumper.
Davalli responded with two free throws with 2: 40 left to cut the lead to 57-53.
Then came Folk's third play, featuring him as a passer, and it produced two points for a 59-53 advantage with 1: 04 left.
Folk drew the Towson defense as he dribbled inside the top of the key and spotted Walter Brown slashing to the basket. Folk whipped the ball to Brown, who was wide-open for the layup.
Folk finished with 11 points and eight assists, and his backcourt mate, freshman Dereck Franklin, had 18 to lead the winners.
Towson coach Mike Jaskulski said: "They [Folk and Brown] made a great play for that layup. There were no defensive lapses for us. We were playing an outstanding Boston team that won the America East tournament championship two years ago and could have won if we hadn't missed some key free throws or had a few missed defensive assignments."
Jaskulski continued: "If I thought we were a mess tonight, I would be very upset. But Damon Cason [eight assists and three steals] played better, Shaun Holtz [five points and five rebounds] showed improvement and Pete Mauro made better decisions."
Pub Date: 1/04/99