Feeling at home, Anthony helps top Towson Catholic

National No. 1 Oak Hill gets 31 from ex-Owl, 61st straight win, 72-60

January 21, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

A little rust nearly cost Oak Hill in so many ways.

The Warriors, the nation's top-ranked team according to USA Today, weathered a lackadaisical first half before finding their form and defeating Towson Catholic, 72-60, in the final game of the State Farm Roundball Classic at the Towson Center last night.

Oak Hill, which hadn't played since Wednesday because of the snowstorm that struck the Mid-Atlantic region, scored 27 points in the third quarter - just seven points less than their entire production in the first half - to outlast the Owls.

Towson Catholic, perhaps motivated by facing former teammate and Syracuse-bound Carmelo Anthony, played a style that belied its 4-14 record. And judging by the Owls" energy, it was difficult to believe that they had played their fourth game in as many nights.

Senior guard Darnell Hopkins, named to the All-Tournament team, paced Towson Catholic with 17 points. The forward duo of junior Matt Stevenson and sophomore Jamal Smith each chipped in 16 points.

Anthony was his usual self, scoring a game-high 31 points. Twelve of those points came in the pivotal third quarter, and for his efforts, Anthony was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

The Warriors improved to 20-0, extending their winning streak to 61 games. Oak Hill is currently four wins short of tying the school record set by the 1991 squad that featured current NBA stars Cory Alexander and Ben Davis.

Nursing a 36-34 halftime lead, Towson Catholic kept the Warriors at bay for the first three minutes of the third quarter.

Then Oak Hill went on a 7-2 run to take a 48-44 lead. The spurt was sparked by a steal and three-point play from senior guard Justin Blake.

Hopkins" layup stemmed the tide, but the Warriors scored 13 of the next 17 points to enjoy a 61-50 advantage at the end of the period.

The Owls shaved the lead to nine with a little more than three minutes left in the game, but Oak Hill converted seven of eight attempts at the free-throw line to seal the victory.

The Warriors were sluggish in the first quarter, committing three turnovers, two of which were for traveling.

Anthony seemed to be similarly afflicted, drawing two fouls in the first 5:16. He earned a foul while muscling for an offensive rebound and drew the second trying to prevent Smith from driving to the basket.

Oak Hill, nonetheless, took an early 6-0 lead courtesy of back-to- back three-pointers from Justin Gray (18 points). After the teams traded baskets to make it 10-4, Towson Catholic sandwiched a jumper from Warriors senior forward Antywane Robinson with three-pointers from Hopkins and senior guard Carrol Mitchell.

Junior forward Dion Dacons gave Oak Hill a four-point cushion with a layup off an assist from Moore, but the Owls went on a 6-2 run at the end of the quarter to tie the game at 16.

Towson Catholic took its first lead in the first minute of the sec ond period off a putback from Smith and enjoyed its largest advantage at 28-24 when Hopkins dropped in a lay-up midway through the quarter.

The Warriors took off on a 7-2 spurt to reassume the lead with 2:31 left, but Smith scored four points during a 6-3 run to help the Owls walk into the locker room at halftime with a 36-34 advantage.

At the half, Anthony led all scorers with 12 points on 2-of-5 shooting from the floor and 7-of-8 scoring from the free-throw line. He also registered two rebounds, an assist, a block, and two turnovers.

Smith paced Towson Catholic with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting and three rebounds.

NOTES: Calvert Hall's Gary Neal also was named to the all-tournament team. Attendance at the Towson Center for all three games was 2,633.

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