Towson sends UMBC to 0-9 with 86-77 victory

December 11, 2010|By Mike Frainie, Special to The Baltimore Sun

In a battle of neighborhood rivals, Towson prevailed when push came to shove — literally.

In a game that was closer than the final score would indicate, the Tigers used a full-court press and an offense that found itself in the second half to defeat host UMBC, 86-77, Saturday night at the Retriever Activities Center.

The game featured the ejection of UMBC forward Laurence Jolicoeur after a shoving match with Towson's Braxton Dupree with 12:41 left in the game.

Dupree led the Tigers (3-8) with 17 points, while Chris De La Rosa of UMBC (0-9) led all scorers with 23 points. The Tigers out-rebounded the Retrievers 42-25, with most of the difference coming in the second half.

"This was a really good win for us," said Tigers coach Pat Kennedy. "We know how close they have come lately [to finally winning], and this was a neighborhood game. You always want to win those."

Said UMBC coach Randy Monroe: "This game was a tale of two halves. We did a solid job in the first half, but our rebounding and not making key stops hurt us in the second half."

The first half was all about the Retrievers' De La Rosa. The speedy guard used screens and athleticism to beat the Towson defense for 15 first-half points.

The Retrievers led most of the half, as Towson seemed to lose De La Rosa at some key times defensively. Even after a late run by the Tigers, UMBC went into the break with a 38-33 lead.

Kennedy said that turning up the pressure was a key difference in the second half.

"We played man to man in the first half and pressed in the second," said Kennedy. "That, and our rebounding advantage, was the difference.

Gradually, Towson's pressure wore down the Retrievers. The Tigers finally tied the game at 47 with 14:39 left , and took the lead for good, 64-62, on a Brian Morris layup with 5:32 remaining. The Towson defense held the Retrievers to five field goals the rest of the game.

"It was kind of negative [in the locker room at halftime]," said Towson forward Isaiah Philmore, who finished with 16 points. "We weren't playing good defense in the first half. We knew if we pressured them, some of those shots they were hitting would fall short."

The Tigers' offense began to click in the second half. Towson, which has one of the leading offenses in the Colonial Athletic Association, scored 53 points in the half by working the ball into the paint more consistently. The Tigers also were 26-for-32 from the foul line, including 11 of 14 in the final two minutes to put the game away.

Monroe said the loss of the 6-foot-9 Jolicoeur certainly didn't help UMBC.

"He was playing well I thought," said Monroe. "It was crazy. We certainly don't want our guys getting ejected, but you can't do certain things."

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