Matthews does in Towson

Nation's 4th-leading scorer guides Virginia Tech, 74-67

College Basketball

December 21, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

A window of opportunity opened for the Towson men yesterday before a combination of foul problems, youthful mistakes and Virginia Tech's Bryant Matthews slammed it shut.

The Tigers stayed just a short stride behind until the final minute when Virginia Tech converted a rash of free throws to seal a 74-67 victory at the Towson Center.

Matthews, fourth in the nation in scoring, bounced back from a 1-for-9 first half to finish with 24 points and 15 rebounds.

"They have a go-to guy in Matthews and he did what he is supposed to do," said Towson coach Michael Hunt. "But he came over to our bench and told me we were much improved over the team they played last year [a 76-52 Hokies win]."

Towson (2-6) couldn't overcome 33 personal fouls, two below the school record, and injuries to Jonathan Pease and Jake McCartney.

Still, sheer energy from senior guard Jamal Gilchrist and his two freshman running mates, Trevan Jackson and Mike Green, kept the Tigers within 65-61 with 1:08 left. But before Towson scored again, Virginia Tech (6-3) made seven free throws to take an 11-point lead.

"We messed up by missing free throws and turning the ball over," said Jackson, who had a career-high 22 points and team-best seven rebounds. "We needed to keep our heads better and run the offense right."

It didn't help Towson that a school-record four players fouled out, including center Tony Dixon, who was restricted to 15 minutes and did not score.

"The game had very little rhythm," said Hokies coach Seth Greenberg. "But Matthews had great toughness the second half, kept a lot of balls alive. I'm not real happy overall, but it's tough to win on the road and Towson played very hard."

It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Tigers, who led only once (3-2) and closed to within a point once.

But Matthews was relentless on the offensive backboard thereafter en route to his fourth double double of the season.

"Last year, we didn't even have a chance at Virginia Tech," Hunt said. "And this time with a new group we're right in it. We got a little too excited at crunch time, but I can't fault the effort. We're playing better."

Towson is 2-16 all-time against Big East opponents.

VIRGINIA TECH-Matthews 6-14 12-16 24, Sailes 0-2 4-4 4, Collins 2-4 2-3 6, Dowdell 1-2 2-4 5, Gordon 4-6 2-3 11, Davis 2-2 0-0 5, Calloway 2-2 0-2 4, Harris 3-10 5-10 11, McCandies 1-2 2-2 4. Totals 21-44 29-44 74. TOWSON-Hamm 3-11 2-2 10, Tubbs 0-2 0-0 0, Dixon 0-2 0-0 0, Green 4-13 4-7 15, Gilchrist 6-10 2-3 15, Jackson 6-13 6-11 22, Petkunas 1-1 0-0 3, Goode 0-1 0-0 0, Plack 1-2 0-1 2. Totals 21-55 14-24 67. Half-Virginia Tech, 33-24. 3-point goals-Virginia Tech 3-11 (Matthews 0-1, Sailes 0-1, Dowdell 1-2, Gordon 1-2, Davis 1-1, Harris 0-4). Towson 11-26 (Hamm 2-5, Tubbs 0-1, Green 3-7, Gilchrist 1-3, Jackson 4-9, Petkunas 1-1). Rebounds-Virginia Tech 38 (Matthews 15), Towson 31 (Jackson 7). Assists-Virginia Tech 9 (Sailes, Gordon 3), Towson 14 (Green 4). Total fouls-Virginia Tech 23, Towson 33. Fouled out-Dixon, Gilchrist, Green, Gordon, Jackson. Technical fouls-Towson bench. A-1,516.

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