One is a 6-foot-4 forward who's experienced a roller coaster season. The other is a 6-3 guard known more for his defensive ability. Yesterday at Towson Center, UMBC's Derell Thompson and Towson State's Terrance Jacobs were both stars in a record-breaking scoring exhibition.
Hitting from everywhere on the court, Thompson scored 43 points -- establishing a UMBC record. But Jacobs was on a record-setting pace of his own as he scored a career-high 39 points -- a record for a Towson player at the Towson Center -- and more importantly led the Tigers to a 113-103 victory.
Jacobs' 39 points gave him 1,012 points for his career -- the second fastest a Towson player has reached 1,000 points (Jacobs did it in his 53rd game, Kurk Lee scored 1,000 in his 38th). The senior guard, who transferred to Towson from Old Dominion, ranks 16th on the school's all-time scoring list.
"It feels good to be in a class with 16 guys who've scored 1,000 points," Jacobs said. "It wasn't something that I set out to do. It just came. I'm just happy to get the win."
It was a win that extended Towson's winning streak to eight games, tying the school's longest winning streak in Division I. The game, which was also the second time in Towson history that two teams scored more than 100 points, was Towson's 10th straight at home.
By beating UMBC (7-16, 6-3 in the East Coast Conference), Towson (12-11, 7-1) went over the .500 mark for the first time this season and avenged its only conference loss -- a 93-83 defeat at UMBC in the opening game of the Beltway Classic.
The Tigers led by as many as 21 points in the second half, after Craig Valentine (10 points) scored on a layup that made the score 82-61 with 10 minutes 59 seconds left. But sloppy play by the Tigers -- and the hot hand of Thompson, who scored 18 points in the last 11 minutes -- helped UMBC cut the margin to 103-94 after Thompson's three-pointer with 2:22 left.
UMBC was never able to get closer, as Chuck Lightening (23 points) scored eight of Towson's final 10 points. It didn't help the Retrievers that 17 of Towson's 25 second-half field goals came in the paint, with many of them on layups.
"You just can't give up 113 points," said UMBC coach Earl Hawkins, who would not allow his players to speak to reporters after the game. "There were too many stretches where we missed defensive assignments.
"The interesting thing is that we didn't do anything right and with 2:50 left we still had a shot," Hawkins added. "We're not going to win championships and win conference titles if we don't play defense or run our system."
On the scoring of Thompson, who broke the UMBC single-game scoring record of 39 set by Larry Simmons, Hawkins said, "Forty-three means nothing when you lose 113-103."
Credit the play of Jacobs for giving Hawkins and his Retrievers the blues. The Southern High School graduate hit 15 of his 24 shots from the field, including two of three three-pointers.
Jacobs, the ECC Player of the Week last week, also grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds while playing 33 minutes.
"If he were 6 feet 6 he would be playing at Indiana or somewhere," Towson coach Terry Truax said. "He gets baskets because he plays so hard. He makes everyone around him better."
And makes opposing coaches adjust, as did Hawkins, who had to get shooting guard Skip Saunders out of the game because he couldn't match up with Jacobs.
"I like to go inside, no matter who's guarding me," Jacobs said. "But with a smaller man, we had some special plays to get me the ball inside."
The result was a record-breaking day for a player whose reputation for scoring is beginning to approach his well-known reputation as a defensive stopper.
"The 39 points, I wasn't really counting," Jacobs said. "All I want to do is get in the mix and play hard.
"Things are beginning to look bright for us," he added. "We still want to play in the postseason. We just have to continue to play well."