Towson off the mark in 62-49 loss to VCU

Tigers shoot 30.5 percent, go 10-for-25 from line, as Rams sweep series

February 17, 2002|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

There is no denying that Towson is a better team than the one Virginia Commonwealth saw in early December.

But given a chance to prove it, the Tigers failed to find the form that led them to three straight Colonial Athletic Association wins heading into last night's game, as they fell, 62-49, to the surging Rams in front of a vocal crowd of 2,148 at the Towson Center.

Junior forward Willie Taylor's 26 points led the Rams (18-8, 10-5), winners of eight of their past 10. But other than Taylor, who shot 7-for-12 from the field and 4-for-6 from three-point range, the Tigers (9-16, 5-10) were able to keep the Rams -- who lead the CAA in many offensive categories, including points a game with 75 -- mostly in check.

The Tigers' problem was on the other end, where they shot just 30.5 percent from the field, and were 10-for-25 from the free-throw line. VCU, which had the size advantage, also blocked seven shots.

"It [Towson's problems on offense] had a lot to do with their size," said Towson senior Sam Sutton, who grabbed 11 rebounds and, along with Brian Allen, scored a team-high 12 points. "I can't say that we have played another team, other than Georgetown, who had their size and could block shots like them."

The Tigers were beaten, 91-68, by the Rams in early December in Towson' first-ever CAA game. In that game, Towson trailed by 18 at halftime and never was able to cut the deficit to single digits.

Last night's game was similar, as the Tigers trailed by 15 at halftime and 19 three minutes into the second half when the Rams' Josh Graham hit a three-pointer.

Towson did not go down completely without a fight. Allen, who has led the Tigers' recent resurgence, made two straight three-pointers, the last of which cut VCU's lead to 45-33 with 8:50 to play.

The Rams' lead was cut to 54-44 at the three-minute mark after Sutton fed Gerald Weatherspoon for a layup in transition.

However, on the next possession, VCU sophomore guard Domonic Jones, who had 12 of his 16 points in the second half, scored and was fouled, giving the Rams a comfortable 57-44 lead.

"Our effort was great. We had energy and enthusiasm," said Towson coach Michael Hunt. "We just have to go back now and continue to improve before our next game."

Taylor came out hot, hitting two straight three-pointers and scoring 10 points to stake the Rams to a 13-10 lead near the midpoint of the first half.

After Towson's Mike Shin had hit a short jumper to give Towson a 9-5 lead, the Tigers were held almost nine minutes without a field goal, as they fell behind 22-10 during that stretch.

The Tigers shot just under 26 percent in the first half, and trailed, 33-18, at halftime.

VA. COMMONWEALTH--Taylor 7-12 8-8 26, Graham 1-3 1-2 4, Likcholitov 0-3 4-6 4, Jones 7-9 2 -3 16, Willie 3-10 1-2 8, Adams 0-1 0-0 0, Nesterov 1-1 0-0 2, Clark 0-0 0-0 0, Mathis 0-3 0-0 0, Orlov 0-0 0-0 0, Reid 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-43 18-23 62.

TOWSON--Blanks 1-6 0-0 2, Augustus 3-7 0-0 6, Shin 2-5 1-4 5, Allen 4-12 1-3 12, Sutton 4-14 4-8 12, Weatherspoon 4-12 1-1 9, Goode 0-2 3-8 3, Dotson 0-1 0-1 0.

Totals 18-59 10-25 49.

Halftime--VCU, 33-18. 3-point goals--VCU 6-18 (Taylor 4-6, Graham 1-3, Willie 1-6, Jones 0-1, Mathis 0-1, Adams 0-1), Towson 3-14 (Allen 3-8, Sutton 0-1, Dotsoin 0-1, Weatherspoon 0-4). Fouled out -- Shin. Rebounds--VCU 33 (Taylor 8), Towson 44 (Sutton 11). Assists--VCU 9 (Taylor, Graham 2), Towson 11 (Allen 8). Total fouls--VCU 19, Towson 9. A-- 2,148.

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