Tigers fall to Lafayette in OT

Lafayette 79 Towson 69

Men's basketball

December 20, 2007|By Todd Karpovich | Todd Karpovich,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Towson coach Pat Kennedy credits his team for doing a solid job moving the ball on offense to create open shots, but he acknowledges that the Tigers have struggled recently to convert those chances.

While the offense played better last night against visiting Lafayette, Towson could not match the Leopards' firepower down the stretch in a 79-69 overtime loss.

The defeat also wasted a solid performance by Towson's defense, which forced 17 turnovers, and the Tigers are 4-6 going into the holiday break.

"You can't let a team like that hang around," Kennedy said. "We came out with a lead at halftime, but we just ran out of juice. We still don't look well-coordinated offensively. We used 10 guys in the first half, and that could be a good thing or a bad thing. We just take shots a little too quick."

Lafayette is ranked fifth nationally in three-pointers made per game, averaging 10.7. The Tigers' aggressive man-to-man defense tried to limit the space for Lafayette's guards from beyond the arc, but the Leopards made 10 of their 30 three-point attempts.

Both teams came out sluggish because of a layoff of almost two weeks for exams, and Towson carried a 28-22 lead into halftime. Towson maintained its lead for much of the second half but began to unravel in the final four minutes of the game.

A layup by Lafayette guard Michael Gruner (13 points) with 8.1 seconds left tied the score at 62 and sent the game into overtime. A three-pointer on Lafayette's first possession by Bilal Abdullah set the tone as the Leopards outscored the Tigers 17-7 in the extra period.

Rodney Spruill scored 10 of his game-high 17 points in the first half. However, Spruill was not happy with his performance after missing two free throws that would have given Towson a seven-point lead with 2:13 left in second half.

"I came out and looked for my shot more today," Spruill said. "I kind of fell apart at the end because I missed my free throws. If you are asking me about my performance, it was bad."

Jonathan Pease also had a big game for the Tigers with 16 points and nine rebounds, while C.C. Williams scored 10 points. Matt Betley, Deirunas Visockas and Abdullah each had a team-high 14 points for Lafayette, which was out-rebounded by the Tigers 42-41.

LAFAYETTE-Schmidt 3-5 2-4 8, Kari 1-6 0-0 2, Betley 4-11 4-5 14, Gruner 6-11 0-0 13, Abdullah 5-15 2-2 14, Wheeler 1-2 0-0 3, Visockas 5-9 0-0 14, Mintz 0-1 0-0 0, Detmer 2-6 7-8 11, Koltun 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-66 15-19 79. TOWSON-Spruill 8-19 1-4 17, Hairston 1-7 6-8 8, Durant 1-5 2-2 4, Williams 4-9 2-4 10, Coleman 2-7 3-3 7, Crossin 1-4 1-2 4, Carr 0-1 0-0 0, Thornton 1-4 0-0 3, Nwankwo 0-0 0-0 0, Pease 7-8 0-0 16. Totals 25-64 15-23 69. Half-Towson, 28-22. End of regulation-62-62. 3-point goals-Lafayette 10-30 (Visockas 4-8, Betley 2-5, Abdullah 2-8, Wheeler 1-1, Gruner 1-5, Kari 0-3), Towson 4-18 (Pease 2-3, Thornton 1-3, Crossin 1-3, Carr 0-1, Coleman 0-3, Spruill 0-5). Fouled out-Schmidt. Rebounds-Lafayette 41 (Abdullah 13), Towson 42 (Hairston 11). Assists-Lafayette 22 (Detmer 6), Towson 11 (Williams 3). Total fouls-Lafayette 18, Towson 20. A-1,562.

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