Tigers open play in CAA with rout

Towson 76 William & Mary 45

College basketball

December 04, 2005|By PAUL MCMULLEN | PAUL MCMULLEN,SUN REPORTER

College basketball teams aren't supposed to face must-win situations in the first semester, but Towson aced a crucial test yesterday, when it routed William & Mary, 76-45, in the Tigers' Colonial Athletic Association opener.

There is no more likely victory in the CAA than a home game against the Tribe. If Towson can't beat William & Mary, which has never gone to the NCAA tournament and finished above .500 just once in the league's first 20 years, then how can it expect to challenge mid-major powers such as Old Dominion and Drexel?

Of course, with seven CAA wins over the past three seasons, a 13-game losing streak at the end of last year and coming off of a 29-point loss at Norfolk State, the Tigers (3-2, 1-0) look down on no one.

Freshman guard Tim Crossin and three other first-year players with a clean CAA slate followed the lead of senior forward Lawrence Hamm and rolled to the program's easiest win in a league it joined in 2001.

"I've never gone from a 30-point loss to a 30-point win," veteran coach Pat Kennedy said. "This was a gut check. From the opening tap to the final buzzer, our inside players, outside players, ball movement, zone, everything was working."

Hamm had a career-high 29 points and eight rebounds. At the final media timeout, he had more field goals than William & Mary (4-2, 0-2).

Hamm and Crossin, a fellow Pennsylvanian, were a combined 20 of 23 from the field. Crossin scored 19 on five-of-six shooting from three-point range and had a brilliant floor game, with seven assists, six rebounds, six steals and another 11 deflections.

Crossin had two threes during an early 15-0 run. The Tribe steadied itself, but when it briefly switched from zone defense to man, the Tigers immediately isolated Hamm, who got only five shots in the Norfolk State loss. The lead was 34-14 after 17 minutes, and it got to 72-38 on his transition dunk with 4:29 left.

Freshman guard Velmar Coleman came off the bench and had nine assists, with no turnovers.

Towson considered its CAA opener so vital, it delayed a potential distraction, the announcement that it will be adding 6-foot-4 guard Gary Neal, which was first reported Friday in The Sun.

Last month Neal was acquitted of a rape charge that got him dismissed from La Salle in the summer of 2004.

Kennedy confirmed that the Atlantic 10 2003-04 Rookie of the Year will start practicing with Towson tomorrow and will be eligible once the first semester concludes.

"He has to prove himself," Kennedy said, "but he's obviously going to help us."

paul.mcmullen@baltsun.com

WILLIAM & MARY - Kisielius 2-4 1-2 5, Cofield 0-2 2-4 2, Hutt 0-0 4-6 4, Baker 2-11 2-4 8, Payton 2-6 1-1 5, Loehrke 5-6 0-0 10, Trumbower 0-3 0-0 0, Smith 1-1 3-4 5, Mann 0-5 0-0 0, Stein 0-0 0-0 0, Carrabine 1-5 0-0 2, Smith III 0-1 1-2 1, Mokris 0-1 0-0 0, Darnell 0-5 1-2 1, Stratton 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 14-51 15-25 45. TOWSON - Pratt 1-8 0-0 2, Hamm 13-15 3-3 29, Abraham 1-8 2-2 4, Jackson 2-6 0-0 5, Crossin 7-8 0-0 19, Coleman 1-4 0-0 2, Barb 0-0 0-0 0, Tubbs 3-7 0-0 6, Raboin 3-8 2-2 9, Plack 0-0 0-0 0, Dublin 0-0 0-0 0, Hibbert 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-64 7-7 76. Halftime-Towson, 42-20. 3-point goals-William & Mary 2-25 (Baker 2-9, Smith III 0-1, Mokris 0-1, Trumbower 0-2, Kisielius 0-2, Mann 0-3, Darnell 0-3, Carrabine 0-4), Towson 7-19 (Crossin 5-6, Jackson 1-2, Raboin 1-5, Coleman 0-1, Pratt 0-2, Abraham 0-3). Fouled out-Abraham. Rebounds-William & Mary 35 (Cofield, Hutt 4), Towson 40 (Hamm 8). Assists-William & Mary 7 (Mokris 3), Towson 22 (Coleman 9). Total fouls-William & Mary 10, Towson 24. A-1,127.

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