Towson outclassed by UNC-Wilmington

26 turnovers doom Tigers against CAA leader, 75-51

College Basketball

February 23, 2003|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Having already clinched last place in the Colonial Athletic Association, the Towson Tigers last night moved closer to securing first place in an equally telling category.

Turnovers.

The Tigers, who entered the night with the second-highest turnover average among 325 NCAA Division I teams, committed 18 in the first half and 26 for the game, falling behind conference front-runner UNC-Wilmington by as much as 17 in the first half and falling, 75-51, before 1,214 at Towson Center.

Towson (4-21 overall, 1-15 CAA) has lost 11 straight - extending its longest losing streak in Division I - and 18 of 19.

"Having 18 turnovers at halftime ... I told the team we didn't give ourselves a chance," Towson coach Michael Hunt said. "The problem I've had for two years is that we haven't gotten very good guard play. That's something I'm feverishly addressing in recruiting."

Facing a Seahawks team trying to secure its second straight CAA championship after upsetting Southern California in the opening round of last year's NCAA tournament, Towson looked sharp early, scoring seven of the game's first nine points and taking a 10-6 lead on freshman Lawrence Hamm's three-point play 5:32 into the game.

After that, however, the Seahawks (18-6, 12-3) dominated.

Trailing, 12-10, they embarked on an 18-2 run over the next eight minutes, with seven players scoring during the stretch.

Unable to take care of the ball and often unable to find an unobstructed shot, the Tigers couldn't begin to keep pace with the Seahawks' offensive engine. They were led by defending CAA Player of the Year Brett Blizzard (14 points) - a 6-foot-4 guard being touted by many as an NBA prospect - guard Tim Burnette (11 points) and 6-8 center Craig Callahan (14 points).

The three combined for 29 first-half points, as UNC-Wilmington built a 39-24 lead at the break. Blizzard, who earlier this week became his school's all-time leading scorer, needs eight points to reach 2,000 for his career.

Hamm had 18 points to lead Towson, which trailed by as much as 32 in the second half.

UNC-WILMINGTON - Blizzard 6-11 0-2, Callahan 6-11 0-0 14, Burnette 5-12 0-0 11, Terrell 5-6 0-1 10, Laue 3-5 4-4 10, Gunn 2-3 0-0 5, Coombs 2-4 1-2 5, Goldsberry 1-3 0-0 3, Wyrick 1-2 0-0 2, Justus 0-3 1-2 1, King 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 31-61 6-13 75. TOWSON - Hamm 8-11 1-1 18, McSweeney 5-9 0-0 13, Allen 2-4 0-0 6, Gilchrist 2-6 1-1 5, Petkunas 1-4 0-0 3, Goode 1-1 0-0 2, Warner 1-1 0-0 2, Dixon 1-4 0-1 2, McCartney 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 21-43 2-3 51.

Halftime-UNC-Wilmington 39, Towson 24. 3-point goals-UNC-Wilmington 7-19 (Callahan 2-4, Blizzard 2-6, Gunn 1-1 Goldsberry 1-2, Burnette 1-3, King 0-1, Wyrick 0-1), Towson 7-14 (McSweeney 3-4, Allen 2-3, Hamm 1-1, Petkunas 1-2, McCartney 0-1, Gilchrist 0-3). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-UNC-Wilmington 29 (Callahan 6), Towson 28 (Hamm 5). Assists-UNC-Wilmington 19 (Goldsberry 8), Towson 18 (Gilchrist 6). Total fouls-UNC-Wilmington 13, Towson 15. A-1,214.

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