Towson ends season with 72-61 loss to JMU

Tigers fall from tourney despite Weatherspoon's 31

March 08, 2003|By Sean Ryan | Sean Ryan,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

RICHMOND, Va. - The Colonial Athletic Association began its version of March Madness last night.

For Towson, the madness of the postseason proved to be just as maddening as the rest of the season.

The 10th-seeded Tigers were unable to overcome a miserable start against seventh seed James Madison (13-16) in the first round of the CAA tournament at the Richmond Coliseum, falling, 72-61, despite a 31-point night from Gerald Weatherspoon. The loss was the 14th straight and 21st in 22 outings for Towson, which ended its season with a 4-24 record.

"Our play got better as the game went along," Tigers coach Michael Hunt said. "Hopefully, it's a character-building loss, if you can have one."

Towson trailed 5-4, only to miss 13 straight shots and go 11:30 without scoring. The Tigers committed nine turnovers during the Dukes' 16-0 spurt.

"We went 12 minutes in the first half without scoring," Hunt said. "You can't do that at this level in basketball and expect to beat a team like Madison; expect to beat anyone in our league, for that matter."

JMU coach Sherman Dillard sent in his second unit for his starters frequently in the first half in an attempt to save his starters' legs for the rest of the tournament. The second team took advantage of Towson's tepid shooting and built a 29-10 lead.

The Tigers had 15 turnovers to match their 15 points and shot 22 percent (6-for-27) in the first half.

James Madison built its lead to 49-25 after the break, scoring three breakaway baskets (two dunks) in a minute off three turnovers.

But something happened after that point.

Weatherspoon's fourth three-pointer of the half brought the Tigers within 67-55 with 1:19 to play. His slicing basket with 44.1 seconds left made it a 10-point game. Jamaal Gilchrist then made a layup to cut the deficit to 69-61. Seconds later, however, Gilchrist and Keon Blanks couldn't control a loose rebound and fumbled the ball out of bounds for the Tigers' 23rd and final turnover, putting an end to a frustrating season.

TOWSON-Dixon 4-7 1-1 9, Blanks 2-3 0-1 4, McCartney 0-4 0-0 0, Allen 0-4 0-0 0, Weatherspoon 11-16 4-6 31, Hamm 3-7 0-0 6, Petkunas 0-0 0-0 0, McSweeney 1-4 0-0 2, Goode 1-3 1-3 3, Gilchrist 2-11 2-2 6. Totals 24-60 9-13 61. JAMES MADISON-Broyles 6-13 0-0 14, Whitehead 3-4 0-0 6, Caskill 5-9 2-2 12, Fanning 4-8 2-2 11, Williams 1-7 3-7 5, Miller 2-4 4-4 9, Hatter 0-3 1-2 1, Naparlo 0-0 0-0 0, Freeman 1-5 0-0 2, Plefka 1-4 2-2 4, Mitchell 4-6 0-0 8. Totals 27-63 14-19 72. Half-James Madison, 29-15. 3-point goals-Towson 4-15 (Weatherspoon 4-6, McSweeney 0-1, Allen 0-3, Gilchrist 0-5.), James Madison 4-14 (Broyles 2-3, Fanning 1-3, Miller 1-3, Hatter 0-2, Freeman 0-3.) Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Towson 37 (Dixon 7), James Madison 38 (Broyles, Whitehead 6). Assists-Towson 9 (Hamm, Gilchrist 2), James Madison 14 (Williams 7). Total fouls-Towson 16, James Madison 14. A-3,228.

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