Towson starts strong, but falls to G. Mason

Tigers take 8-point lead, can't hold it in 62-57 loss

College Basketball

February 10, 2005|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Towson is inching closer toward becoming a contender in the Colonial Athletic Association, but it hasn't quite arrived yet.

That point was emphasized again last night at the Towson Center when the Tigers couldn't stand some first-half prosperity, squandered an eight-point lead and then played a futile game of catchup in a 62-57 defeat by George Mason before 1,488.

It was the seventh straight loss for Towson (5-18, 2-11) which continues to play without injured Jonathan Pease (knee), one of its top players.

"We will get to the top of this league," said coach Pat Kennedy, "but we need to get two or three good, solid recruiting classes in here."

George Mason (13-9, 8-5) was missing its second-leading scorer, Tony Shinn, who has been red-hot lately, and started the game in a funk, falling behind 16-8, thanks largely to 4-for-16 shooting from the field and six turnovers. But the game's complexion changed dramatically during a 16-3 Patriots run that Kennedy said determined the outcome.

"The end of the first half really hurt us," said Kennedy. "We were standing up throwing it like a volleyball as opposed to making aggressive passes. We have lapses where we get a little comfortable and, to win at the college level, you have to have 37 minutes of good basketball; you can't have 10 bad."

However, the Tigers did not fold as Lawrence Hamm (career-high 17 rebounds and 15 points) and guards Mike Green and Cantrell Fletcher led a counterattack after George Mason had gone ahead by 11 early in the second half.

Towson twice got to within a point before Lamar Butler came off a screen to hit a three-pointer and Jai Lewis (Aberdeen) muscled inside for a basket that made it 59-53.

"Coach [Jim Larranaga] called the play, and I felt I had to hit it," said Butler, whose 200 three-pointers rank second in Patriots history.

"It's hard to shake Towson," said Larranaga. "Their guards were handling well and Hamm had a great effort game with a lot of baskets off offensive rebounds. Every game at home, they play very tough."

Freshman John Vaughn topped the Patriots with 17 points, Butler had 15 and Lewis finished with his 14th career double double (14 points and 14 rebounds).

GEORGE MASON - Lewis 5-13 4-6 14, Carter 2-4 1-4 5, Norwood 3-9 1-4 7, Butler 4-11 5-7 15, Vaughn 6-11 1-2 17, Burns 0-1 0-0 0, Urbina 0-0 0-0 0, Thomas 1-1 0-1 2, Campbell 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 22-53 12-24 62.

TOWSON - Hamm 6-9 3-4 15, Tubbs 2-4 0-2 4, Plack 1-7 1-2 3, Fletcher 5-15 2-2 13, Green 5-14 5-6 16, Jackson 1-8 0-0 2, Goode 1-2 0-0 2, Raboin 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 22-61 11-16 57. Halftime-George Mason, 29-23. 3-point goals-George Mason 6-21 (Vaughn 4-7, Butler 2-7, Lewis 0-1, Carter 0-2, Norwood 0-1, Burns 0-1, Campbell 0-2), Towson 11-16 (Hamm 3-4, Fletcher 2-2, Plack 1-2, Green 5-6, Tubbs 0-2, Jackson 0-5, Raboin 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-George Mason 35 (Lewis 14), Towson 44 (Hamm 17). Assists-George Mason 16 (Butler 5), Towson 12 (Green 5). Total fouls-George Mason 12, Towson 20. A-1,488.

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