Towson goes on the offensive in 80-52 win

Rout of New Hampshire is largest victory margin for Tigers since 1992

January 30, 2000|By Mark Hoeflich | Mark Hoeflich,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

When Mike Jaskulski became Towson University's men's basketball coach three years ago, he vowed to make the Tigers a better defensive and rebounding team.

Having done that, the Tigers now have the offense to go with it. The proof is in the scoring averages of Brian Barber and Shaun Holtz, both more than 13 points a game, and the recent hot shooting of Raul dePablo.

Yesterday, Barber and dePablo combined for 31 points as Towson routed New Hampshire, 80-52, in an America East game at the Towson Center.

It was the Tigers' largest margin of victory since a 122-58 win over Buffalo in 1992, and Towson allowed its second-lowest point total of the season.

Against the Wildcats (3-16, 2-9), it also was a case of how Towson (10-9, 6-5) and Jaskulski see their ideal offense. There was Barber controlling the middle and getting easy baskets in transition, Mike Shin muscling his way to an unexpected 11 points and dePablo knocking down five of seven three-pointers on the way to 15 points.

DePablo is averaging 16.0 points and shooting .684 (13-for-19) from beyond the arc over his past three games.

"With our defense, the offense is just flowing a lot better," said Barber, an Annapolis alum who led Towson with 16 points.

Still, Towson turned to its defense to put this one away early. Trailing by seven in the opening four minutes, the Tigers harassed New Hampshire into taking hurried shots and forced five turnovers during a 19-0 run that put Towson ahead to stay, 22-10.

The Tigers had four three-pointers in the decisive run and held the Wildcats without a field goal for more than 10 minutes.

"If there was one thing that dictated the early tempo of the game, it was that we put them on their heels with our defense," Jaskulski said. "Usually our offense will go when our defense goes and early we had a lot of transition baskets that came after stops and turnovers."

Towson led 34-20 at halftime and didn't let up in the second half. The Tigers converted their first five field-goal attempts, including three by Barber, for a 45-25 lead, then rode the long-range shooting of dePablo, whose three consecutive three-pointers gave Towson its largest lead yet, 67-39, with 7: 38 left.

"We have a lot of threats on our team and it seems like everybody's stepping up to the plate and making the shots when they have to," Barber said.

Said Jaskulski: "We maintained our concentration and intensity level on the defensive end, in particular on the defensive boards, and we really made that a point of emphasis at halftime."

The Tigers were out-rebounded, 44-43, but limited New Hampshire's second-chance opportunities with 31 defensive rebounds.

Towson has won four of its past six games and recorded its first 10-win season since 1995-96.

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