Slow start dooms Towson in CAA tourney opener

Tigers hurt on boards in 72-52 loss to Hofstra

March 02, 2002|By Adam S. Reisinger | Adam S. Reisinger,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. - After going five years without beating Hofstra, Towson was faced with the task of beating the Pride twice in the same week.

That challenge proved to be too much for the seventh-seeded Tigers (11-18), who fell to the 10th-seeded Pride, 72-52, in the first round of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament yesterday.

"I told my team in the locker room, I'm disappointed in myself for maybe not doing more to have us ready to play," Towson coach Michael Hunt said. "That's the way I always am. I'm very tough on [myself] as a coach."

The win was Hofstra's first since Jan. 30, a 62-60 win over Towson. That was also the last time the Tigers had lost to one of their former America East foes.

Yesterday, Towson missed 11 of its first 13 shots, and fell behind by 14 points in the first 10 minutes of the game. Meanwhile, Hofstra was actually shooting worse, just 28.6 percent, but the Pride pulled down 13 offensive rebounds, leading to eight second-chance points.

The Tigers struggled to match the Pride's tenacity on the glass, getting out-rebounded, 45-27, including 18-6 on the offensive end.

"They kept their aggression up and kept attacking the basket," Hunt said. "They got second and third shots, and that really made it tough for us to make a run."

Towson managed to make one run, cutting the lead to five midway through the second half. However, Rick Apodaca responded with back-to-back baskets, stretching the Pride's lead back into double figures.

Hofstra (11-19) outscored Towson 23-8 over the final 8:52, a span in which the Tigers made just three field goals.

Apodaca, a second-team all-CAA selection, finished with a game-high 17 points despite shooting 4-for-15 from the field.

Towson was led by junior guard Gerald Weatherspoon, who had 15 points, including a desperation three-pointer at the first-half buzzer.

That basket pulled Towson within 10, but with junior guard Brian Allen on the bench in foul trouble to start the second half, the Tigers failed to capitalize on their momentum from the first half, and Hofstra increased the lead to 14. Sam Sutton, playing his last game, had just eight points on 4-for-8 shooting for the Tigers.

"It's just the end of a chapter for me," said Sutton, one of three seniors playing their final game, along with center Mike Shin and forward Kerry Augustus. "It's been a wonderful ride."

HOFSTRA-Walker 5-9 6-8 16, Adeleke 4-10 2-5 10, Petit 0-0 1-3 1, Souffrant 4-5 5-6 13, Apodaca 4-15 7-10 17, Radziejewski 3-6 0-0 9, Millar 0-3 0-0 0, Grubler 2-4 0-0 4, Gibson 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 23-56 21-32 72.

TOWSON-Blanks 2-4 0-0 4, Augustus 1-4 0-0 2, Shin 3-7 3-5 9, Allen 5-12 1-2 12, Sutton 4-8 0-3 8, Dixon 0-0 0-0 0, Reaves 0-1 0-0 0, Weatherspoon 4-10 5-6 15, Good 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 20-50 9-16 52. Halftime-Hofstra 33-23. 3-point goals-Hofstra 5-12 (Radziejewski 3-5, Apodaca 2-6, Millar 0-1), Towson 3-15 (Weatherspoon 2-5, Allen 1-7, Sutton 0-2, Reaves 0-1). Fouled out-Weatherspoon. Rebounds-Hofstra 45 (Walker, Grubler 7), Towson 27 (Shin, Allen 6). Assists-Hofstra 16 (Apodaca 7), Towson 14 (Weatherspoon 5). Total fouls-Hofstra 16, Towson 23. A-2,123.

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