DAYTON, Ohio -- Towson State had to play bigger last night to keep up with Ohio State, the No. 1 seed in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Midwest Regional. It was not a new experience for Terrance Jacobs, the junior guard whose statistics usually belie his 6-foot-3 frame.
With his two more heralded junior teammates, Devin Boyd and Chuck Lightening, struggling at times against the Buckeyes, Jacobs did what he does best, quietly taking care of the supposedly little details that in this case kept his team in the game. When the Tigers were down by 16 with 12 minutes left and in danger of getting blown out, Jacobs took over and kept Towson State in the game.
With Towson State down 64-48, Jacobs made a steal, penetrated the Ohio State front line for another basket, then scored on a put-back, all in two minutes. His teammates righted themselves, and even though beaten 97-86, they left the University of Dayton Arena with their respect intact.
"I know this was my first NCAA game, but we've played big schools before," Jacobs said. "Tonight, I didn't look at Ohio State as being the No. 2 team [actually No. 5 in the latest Associated Press poll] in the country, and I refused to be intimidated by them. I don't mind playing bigger people."
Jacobs finished with 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Take away his 8-for-17 shooting, which includes two layups that popped in and out, and Towson State was 20-for-55, 36.3 percent. Lightening had a game-high 26, but he was 8-for-24 from the field, and Boyd briefly got into the flow in the second half after his foul trouble.
Take away the two three-pointers Jacobs hit at important junctures, and the Tigers were 2-11 beyond the stripe. His was the one matchup that the Tigers clearly won, as Jacobs outplayed the Buckeyes' No. 2 guard, Jamaal Brown, even though Jacobs spent as much time inside as he did on the perimeter.
"Terrance is not a finesse player, because every time you see him, it seems like he's on the floor, fighting for a loose ball," Towson State coach Terry Truax said. "In reality, he replaced Kurk Lee and actually gave us more dimensions than Kurk was able to. He's a very effective inside player."
A 1988 graduate of Southern High, Jacobs was an All-Metro in both football and basketball. He spent his freshman year at Old Dominion, but was unhappy with his playing time and transferred to Allegany Community College in Cumberland for his sophomore season. He moved into the Towson State starting lineup in December, and his ability to replace some of the big numbers Lee took with him to the National Basketball Association's New Jersey Nets was a huge factor in Towson State's winning its second straight East Coast Conference championship and returning to the NCAA tournament.
Jacobs came into the Ohio State game averaging 15.7 points and 5.3 rebounds, second on the team behind Lightening. For the year, he was second to Boyd in steals and assists.
Jacobs relishes going after bigger players. His exit last night was symbolic, as Jacobs fouled out with 35 seconds remaining trying to strip the ball from Perry Carter, the Buckeyes' 6-8, 230-pound center.