Short-handed Towson rallies past Hartford

Weatherspoon, 14-2 run fill Goodman void, 65-62

March 03, 2001|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

NEWARK, Del. - For the longest time, it seemed as if the season would end for the Towson men's basketball team last night.

With only seven healthy players entering the America East tournament, the Tigers could be expected to run out of gas. Without their point guard, Tamir Goodman, a slew of turnovers seemed a certainty.

Instead, No. 7 seed Towson held No. 10 Hartford without a field goal in a 14-2 surge over the game's last six minutes, and Brian Allen hit two late free throws in a 65-62 win in a play-in game at the Bob Carpenter Center.

Sophomore guard Gerald Weatherspoon, who had been struggling until recently, had 17 points, including 13 in the second half, to lead Towson (12-16). Weatherspoon moved into the starting lineup in place of Goodman, who was observing the Jewish Sabbath.

Weatherspoon was an unlikely hero because of a midseason slump that landed him in coach Mike Jaskulski's doghouse for a while.

"Gerald Weatherspoon stepped up big time for us," said Jaskulski, who also got 14 points and 14 rebounds from Brian Barber. "He hadn't had a lot of success, but Gerald seems to have renewed himself in the last two weeks or so."

The victory over Hartford (4-24) sets up a quarterfinal tonight at 6 against second-seeded Delaware, a team that has beaten the Tigers in the last 11 meetings and has ended the last three Towson seasons in this very building.

And starting at 6:43 p.m., Towson gets the services of Goodman, who observed the Jewish Sabbath at a hotel across the street from the University of Delaware campus.

"We can't just bring him in cold," Jaskulski said of Goodman playing the second half tonight. "He's going to have to get himself ready."

Just two weeks ago, Towson lost to the Blue Hens, 77-63, in a loss that the players have been looking forward to avenging.

"I don't think you need any motivation," said Sam Sutton, who had an off shooting night - missing six of nine field-goal attempts - but also had nine rebounds to go with 11 points. "Delaware, just the name, gets you going."

Towson looked like it was going home when Hartford went on a 19-6 run sparked by Ryan Stys, who finished with 17 points. At that point, the Hawks held a 60-51 lead.

But Towson got baskets from Weatherspoon, Sutton and Barber, who brought his team to within a point at 62-61 with 1:50 left with a jumper and two free throws. Hartford missed three field-goal attempts in that time and Allen - who also had eight assists - hit the game-winning free throws with 1:36 left.

The Hawks looked to get the ball to Mantas Storpirstas - who led them with 19 points - but could never get a shot off.

Barber, a Towson senior from Annapolis High, said fatigue wasn't a factor despite Towson's reduced numbers.

"You've got to be ready to lay it all out there, so I wasn't worried about fatigue," he said.

NOTE: A limited number of tickets will be available for Towson fans beginning at 4:30 p.m. today at the Bob Carpenter Center.

HARTFORD - Storpirstis 7-13 0-0 19, Bosley 0-0 0-0 0, Sawicki 2-7 3-6 7, Stys 6-15 1-2 17, Smith 4-9 4-4 13, Rozier 2-4 0-0 4, McClinton 0-2 0-0 0, Odugbela 1-4 0-1 2, Jones 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-55 8-13 62.

TOWSON - Barber 4-10 6-6 14, Sutton 3-9 4-9 11, Holtz 1-5 0-0 3, Allen 2-9 3-4 9, Weatherspoon 5-9 5-9 5-6 17, Spalevic 1-2 0-0 3, Shin 4-6 0-2 8. Totals 20-50 18-27 65.

Halftime: Hartford 33, Towson 30. 3-point goals: Hartford 8-13 (Storpirstis 5-10, Stys 4-10, Smith 1-2, Sawicki 0-1, McClinton 0-1), Towson 7-19 (Allen 2-7, Weatherspoon 2-4, Sutton 1-2, Spalevic 1-2, Holtz 1-4). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Hartford 30 (Sawicki 9), Towson 39 (Barber 14). Assists: Hartford 15 (Stys 6), Towson 15 (Allen 8). Total fouls: Hartford 21, Towson 15. A: NA.

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