Towson frustrated by Maine

Tigers challenge Bears before falling short, 68-67

January 28, 2000|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Another night and another tough loss by Towson University to one of the top America East teams, and all senior guard Damon Cason could do was try to explain why his 18-foot jump shot with three seconds remaining came up short and left the Tigers on the short end of a 68-67 score against Maine at the Towson Center.

"It felt good when it left my hand, and I felt it had a chance to go in," said Cason. "But the ball came up short. I wanted to drive closer to the basket, but [Maine guard] Huggy Dye was going to cut me off if I kept on going."

When Cason's shot caromed off the front of the rim, senior Maine guard Andy Bedard swept into the lane for the rebound and dribbled the final seconds off the clock.

The loss to Maine (15-5, 7-2) came five days after Towson (9-9, 5-5) gave preseason favorite and three-time defending champion Delaware fits in Newark before dropping an 82-70 decision.

"We were a rebound away from winning this game," said Towson coach Mike Jaskulski. "My faith in this team hasn't been fazed one iota. I was encouraged by what I saw tonight. We played great on defense and well enough to win on offense. That Maine team will be fighting to win the league championship."

That "rebound away" from victory came with 5.6 seconds left, when Maine's Julian Dunkley tossed up a rather wild three-pointer with his team trailing 67-66. The ball came off the rim into the hands of the Black Bears' 6-foot-8 senior forward Nate Fox, who had already scored 26 points in the game.

Fox was fouled on the put-back by Mike Shin and hit both free throws for a 68-67 lead.

The two Fox free throws prevented Brian Barber from being a hero for the home team, as he had hit both ends of a one-and-one with 18.8 seconds left to give Towson a 67-66 advantage. Towson had wasted little time in getting the ball in the lane to Barber after a timeout with 24 seconds left, and Barber got off a 5-footer and was fouled.

Although Barber hit his two free throws, Maine had plenty of time to come down and look for a good shot. The Black Bears wound up taking -- and missing -- a bad shot by Dunkley, but Fox bailed his teammates out.

That set the stage for the final play, which had Raul dePablo inbounding the ball. The inbounds pass was set up to go to freshman guard Brian Allen, who was supposed to dribble up court and go the basket for a possible winning shot.

"Brian wasn't open," said Cason. "So I got the ball on the run at midcourt and had to make a quick decision."

Jaskulski said, "Brian Allen got open on the wing when Damon took the shot, but it's hard to get the exact shot you want in a situation like that."

Cason finished with 11 points, four assists and three steals, and Barber led Towson with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor.

MAINE -- Fox 10-14 5-6 28, Dunkley 5-12 2-2 13, Bedard 0-2 2-2 2, Haynes 0-2 0-0 0, Dye 4-11 1-1 10, Jackson 2-4 0-0 5, Ammons 4-7 2-4 10, Thibodeau 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-52 12-15 68.

TOWSON -- Davalli 1-3 2-2 4, Barber 7-10 4-4 18, Shin 4-8 0-0 8, Cason 4-12 0-0 11, Weatherspoon 1-5 0-0 2, Ragin 1-2 0-0 2, dePablo 4-10 2-2 12, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Holtz 2-6 3-4 8, Augustus 0-2 2-2 2. Totals: 24-58 13-14 67.

Half--31-31. 3-point field goals--M 6-20 (Fox 3-4, Dye 1-4, Dunkley 1-6, Jackson 1-3, Haynes 0-2, Bedard 0-1); T 6-20 (Cason 3-7, dePablo 2-6, Holtz 1-3, Davalli 0-1, Weatherspoon 0-2). Rebounds--M 33 (Fox, 12); T 31 (Cason, 8). Assists--M 16 (Bedard, 8), T 17 (Cason, 4). Total fouls--M 14, T 16. A--517.

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