Towson uses fast start to spark 73-67 win over William & Mary

Green helps Tigers earn 2nd straight CAA triumph

January 15, 2004|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For a Towson men's basketball team for which little has come easy in recent years, last night's 73-67 win over William and Mary was no exception.

The host Tigers used an early 13-0 run to open a comfortable margin, extending their lead to as many as 21 before nearly collapsing in the second half, when their lead dwindled to three in the final minutes.

"The first half was a dream," said Towson coach Michael Hunt, who said his team played its best ball of the season in the half. "Then we lost some of our aggressiveness. We stood around and watched the clock a little bit instead of continuing to attack. It was a little too close."

The Tigers got a breakout performance from freshman Michael Green, who finished with 18 points, nine assists and seven rebounds to lead four Towson scorers in double figures.

The win gave Towson (5-8 overall, 2-2 Colonial Athletic Association) consecutive victories for the first time since early last season, as well as consecutive conference wins for the first time in nearly two years. The Tigers were coming off a two-point victory over Delaware on Saturday.

William and Mary (4-10, 1-4) lost its fifth straight game and has dropped eight of nine since getting off to a 3-2 start.

Towson gained control of the game in the opening minutes. Leading 7-6, the Tigers used a fast-break layup by Andrius Petkunas to embark on a 13-0 run.

The Tigers did just about everything right during the stretch, blocking shots, creating turnovers and making six of eight shots, including Jamaal Gilchrist's fast-beak layup that extended the Tigers' lead to 20-6 with 12:19 left in the half.

Freshman Jonathan Pease got in on the act, hitting both of his three-point attempts in the half after making just two of 15 for the season.

After halftime, however, the roles reversed. Towson seemed content to run time off the clock. The Tribe, led by forward Adam Hess (21 points), the preseason pick for CAA Player of the Year, ate away at the lead.

They used a 17-4 run, capped by Dave Holtzmuller's three-pointer, to get within six with 4:46 left, then pulled within three on Zeb Cope's put-back with 1:40 left.

In the final minute, however, the Tigers regrouped to score six straight points, including four at the foul line, to seal the win.

"It's tough being down, but actually it's really scary being up 20 points," Green said. "You know the other team will come out of the locker room playing a lot harder."

WILLIAM AND MARY -- Cope 5-11 4-5 15, Hess 8-16 3-4 21, Cofield 1-6 3-6 5, D'Antoni 1-4 1-3 4, Mokris 5-10 3-3 13, Loerhke 0-2 2-2 2, Holtzmuller 2-3 0-0 5, Trumbower 1-3 0-0 2, Hutt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-55 16-23 67.

TOWSON -- Hamm 5-10 0-0 10, Dixon 2-3 0-0 4, Green 4-8 7-9 18, Green 4-8 7-9 18 Petkunas 4-10 1-5 10, Gilchrist 4-11 2-4 11, Jackson 2-5 0-0 5, Tubbs 1-3 1-2 3, Goode 0-4 0-0 0, Pease 2-3 0-0 6, Plack 2-3 2-3 6. Totals 26-60 13-23 73.

Half --Towson, 43-25. 3-point goals--William & Mary 5-19 (Hess 2-6, Holtzmuller 1-2, D'Antoni 1-2, Cope 1-5), Towson 8-20 (Green 3-4, Pease 2-2, Jackson 1-3, Petkunas 1-5, Gilchrist 1-6).

Fouled out--None. Rebounds--William & Mary 37 (Cofield 9), Towson 38 (Green 7, Petkunas 7).

Assists--William & Mary 19 (D'Antoni 19), Towson (Green 9). Total fouls--William & Mary 20, Towson 20. A--688.

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