Patience pays off for Towson against changing defense

Neal leads way with 20 points in opener

Towson 78 Hartford 64

November 14, 2006|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun reporter

For a team that wants to play pressure defense and a running offense, Towson drew a difficult matchup for its season opener last night at the Towson Center.

Hartford's collapsing matchup zone, defensive variations and propensity for shooting from long range forced the Tigers into a more patient mode, but they weren't enough to overcome them as Towson registered a 78-64 victory before 1,563.

"They changed defenses about every time down the floor," said Towson coach Pat Kennedy. "We didn't have the continuity we would like, but it was a good, solid win. We didn't back off and just hung tough."

Hartford (0-2) came to Towson off a hard-fought loss to eighth-ranked Georgetown that was close until the finish, and Kennedy said he had no chance to scout it. But with an inexperienced squad and a John Chaney disciple (Dan Leibovitz) coaching the Hawks, it was pretty obvious they weren't going to get into a shootout with the Tigers.

"It was a lot of matching up," said Gary Neal (Calvert Hall), the nation's leading returning scorer in Division I. "For the most part, we figured it out and got shots for the other guys."

Neal finished with a game-high 20 points and hit two key three-pointers, a 25-footer to end the first half with Towson leading by 10 and another long basket that fended off the Hawks' final charge with less than three minutes remaining.

But he had plenty of support, particularly from forward Winstonn Tubbs, who contributed 15 points on six of nine from the field and a career-high 13 rebounds, helping Towson dominate the boards (43-32). It was the first double double of Tubbs' career.

"When the ball went down low, they just collapsed and were very physical," Tubbs said. "You just had to try to equal that."

Hartford lofted 39 three-point attempts with Joe Zeglinski tying the school record with 15. The 12 that connected also equaled a school record.

"They're the type of team that will play everybody tough," Kennedy said. "But this year we have options. I was proud of our depth off the bench."

HARTFORD-Taylor 5-8 1-2 12, Zimnickas 2-7 0-1 4, Turner 0-4 0-0 0, Baker 2-5 4-4 9, Zeglinski 5-20 1-2 15, Von Rosenberg 3-7 0-0 8, Glowiak 4-11 0-0 12, Tafo 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 23-64 6-9 64. TOWSON-Raboin 0-0 2-2 2, Abraham 1-7 0-1 2, Tubbs 6-9 3-3 15, Crossin 4-4 2-2 13, Coleman 1-3 0-0 2, Neal 6-16 6-6 20, Williams 3-5 4-6 11, Breaux 1-2 5-6 7, Spruill 2-6 1-2 6. Totals 24-52 23-28 78. Half: Towson 37-27. 3-point goals: Hartford 12-39 (Glowiak 4-9, Zeglinski 4-15, Von Rosenberg 2-4, Taylor 1-2, Baker 1-3, Zimnickas 0-2, Turner 0-4), Towson 7-21 (Crossin 3-3, Neal 2-9, Williams 1-2, Spruill 1-3, Coleman 0-2, Abraham 0-2). Fouled out: Tafo. Rebounds - Hartford 32 (Taylor 8), Towson 43 (Tubbs 13). Assists - Hartford 16 (Von Rosenberg 5), Towson 13 (Williams 4). Total fouls - Hartford 23, Towson 14. A - 1,563.

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