Towson breaks through against Drexel, 68-62

Tigers' 1st CAA victory ends Dragons' control

January 13, 2002|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It had been exactly 4,008 days since Towson last defeated Drexel. Last night, in a game the Tigers dominated for a time, they held on to break the drought, 68-62.

Up by 15 with under 10 minutes to play, the Tigers went scoreless for the next 8:14, but recovered in time to pull out the win, ending a 15-game losing streak to the Philadelphia team - their longest against any opponent - before 809 at the Towson Center.

"We just said, `We can't let this game get away from us,'" Tigers guard Brian Allen said. "We'd been up the whole game, and we just had to bring this home."

Led by Allen (15 points) and fellow guard Sam Sutton (13), Towson (5-9 overall, 1-3 CAA) used 59 percent shooting to build its lead to as many as 19 points early in the second half.

The Tigers were helped by 9-for-31 three-point shooting by Drexel, which shot just 32 percent for the game.

"Tonight [Drexel] got a lot of good looks [from three-point range], but maybe the lights or the baskets worked in our favor," Towson coach Michael Hunt said. "That was the first time we've been in a position with such a big lead. Hopefully, we'll be able to build on this."

The win was Towson's first as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association. The Tigers improved it to 4-0 at home this season.

After controlling the game for much of the way, however, they nearly let it slip away.

Leading 59-44, they gave up 12 straight points and watched their lead trimmed to 59-56 on Phil Goss' 15-footer with 2:07 left. Goss (18 points) and Eric Schmieder (15) led the Dragons during the surge.

But Allen broke Towson's scoreless streak on a driving layup with 1:44 left, and, with 28 seconds left, Justin Reaves hit a layup to put the Tigers up by five to all but seal the win.

"Towson was ready to play tonight and we weren't," said Drexel coach Bruiser Flint, formerly the coach at UMass, who defended his team's reliance on three-pointers. "That's the way we've been playing all year. Our problem was we didn't guard anybody."

Towson looked sharp from the outset, hitting four of its first six shots from the field to take an 8-3 lead after the first 3:30. Then, after Drexel (7-8, 4-2) cut the lead to 18-16 midway through the half, the Tigers again pulled away, hitting eight of nine shots during a 17-4 run that put them in front 35-20 with just over four minutes left in the half.

With the Dragons relying on three-pointers - they tried threes on 10 of their first 15 shots - the Tigers capitalized, keeping pressure on the perimeter and constantly grabbing long rebounds, then using accurate shooting to take advantage at the offensive end.

The Tigers shot 64 percent in the first half in building a 41-26 lead at the break. Drexel, meanwhile, managed just 27 percent, including six of 17 threes.

DREXEL-Whitworth 3-14 0-0 7, King 2-11 0-0 5, Battle 4-8 1-2 9, Goss 6-16 2-2 18, Schmieder 5-14 2-2 15, Brooks 0-1 0-0 0, Fairfax 0-1 0-0 0, Hinds 3-7 0-0 6, Showers 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 24-74 5-6 62. TOWSON-Blanks 1-2 0-0 2, Augustus 2-3 1-4 5, Shin 4-8 1-1 9, Allen 6-11 2-3 15, Sutton 6-12 1-1 13, Dixon 0-0 0-0 0, Reaves 5-5 1-2 12, Weatherspoon 3-5 2-2 8, Goode 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 29-49 8-13 68. Halftime-Towson 41-26. 3 3-point goals-Drexel 9-31 (Whitworth 1-5, King 1-6, Goss 4-9, Schmieder 3-8, Fairfax 0-1, Hinds 0-2); Towson 2-4 (Allen 1-2, Sutton 0-1, Reaves 1-1). Fouled out-Battle. Rebounds-Drexel 37 (Battle 8); Towson 37 (Augustus 7). Assists-Drexel 16 (Schmieder, Whitworth 4); Towson 18 (Allen 8). Total fouls-Drexel 17; Towson 10. A-809.

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