Towson is KO'd by Del. again

Blue Hens oust Tigers 4th straight year, 66-51

March 04, 2001|By Domenico Montanaro | Domenico Montanaro,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

NEWARK, Del. -- They watched helplessly as the seconds ticked away on their season.

Towson players sat on the bench, hunched over, their chins resting in the heel of their hands, towels draped lazily over their heads, eyes glazed over.

For the fourth straight year, Delaware (19-9) ousted the Tigers (12-17) in the quarterfinals of the America East tournament. This time it was a 66-51 decision before 4,294 at Delaware's Bob Carpenter Center.

"I'm really proud of the way our team competed," Towson coach Mike Jaskulski said. "If you are going to beat a program like that, you have to take advantage of opportunities. We had a lot of good looks and a lot of opportunities to keep the game within four to six points."

The Blue Hens went on an early 12-2 run that built a 20-8 lead, but Towson refused to go down easily.

The Tigers converted on only one of their first nine trips down the floor. They continued to struggle shooting, and Delaware extended its lead to 34-19 at halftime. Towson shot only 8-for-21 in the first half (38 percent).

The Tigers' woes continued into the second half, as they turned the ball over nine times in the first 8 1/2 minutes; they had eight turnovers in the entire first half.

Delaware went up by 20 with 16:45 to go, before Towson came to life, thanks to Tamir Goodman.

Goodman, who sat out the first half in obersvance of the Jewish Sabbath, entered the game with 15:21 to go.

With Goodman at the point, the Tigers didn't commit a turnover for 10 minutes and slowly crept back into the game.

"A lot of people never understood," Goodman said, after finishing with seven points, three assists and zero turnovers. "They think I've been having a really poor season because the stats aren't up. But really, my job is to make everybody around me better. And then, when I have an opportunity, then I take it. My job is to get people the ball where they need it."

And he did that during his 14 minutes.

With 10 minutes to go, Towson had pulled within 13.

Two free throws by Sam Sutton (a team-high 16 points) with 6:15 to go pulled the Tigers within 11.

A minute and a half later, Delaware big man Ajmal Basit fouled out (12 points, eight rebounds) and Towson took it to the Blue Hens.

Goodman made a steal with four minutes to go and lobbed an alley-oop pass to Sutton from half-court. Sutton slammed it home, a hush came over the crowd and the Tigers were within 11 again.

Delaware was forced to call timeout.

Towson's hopes faded, however, as the Blue Hens regrouped and didn't allow the Tigers to get any closer.

"I thought we put ourselves in a position where we were in the hunt," Jaskulski said. "If we could get that thing under 10, I thought we had a shot at it."

But they never did. Couple that with shooting 17-of-47 for the game (36 percent) and committing 20 turnovers, and Towson's season was over.

Senior Brian Barber had a tough time shooting, missing 10 of 13 shots and finishing with six points in the last game of his career.

"I didn't want to go out like this," Barber said. "There was no extra pressure. It was just one of those nights. As a group, though, we never gave up and neither did I. It's been a great four years"

TOWSON--Barber 3-13 0-2 6, Sutton 5-11 6-7 16, Holtz 0-2 2-2 2, Allen 3-7 2-2 10, Weatherspoon 2-6 1-4 5, Goodman 2-5 2-3 7, Shin 2-3 1-3 5. Totals 17-47 14-23 51. DELAWARE--Basit 6-10 0-0 12, Sessoms 1-2 2-2 4, Rowland 1-8 0-0 2, Miller 5-7 0-0 13, Wells 6-16 3-4 18, Ames 2-2 2-2 6, Wentt 0-0 0-0 0, Iversen 2-7 2-2 7, Knitter 0-1 0-0 0, Hindenlang 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 25-55 9-10 66.

Halftime--Delaware, 34-19, 3-point goals--Towson 3-10 (Allen 2-4, Goodman 1-1, Sutton 0-3, Holtz 0-1, Weatherspoon 0-1), Delaware 7-25 (Wells 3-11, Miller 3-5, Iversen 1-4, Rowland 0-4, Knitter 0-1). Fouled out--Basit, Sessoms. Rebounds--Towson 32 (Sutton 8), Delaware 35 (Iversen 11). Assists--Towson 12 (Sutton 5), Delaware 16 (Rowland 9). Total fouls--Towson 11, Delaware 22. A--4,294.

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