Blalock, Towson St. turn back the Mount

EMMITSBURG — EMMITSBURG -- Ralph Blalock was just following orders.

Blalock, a junior, is the leader of a Towson State team that at the moment doesn't have any seniors. Coach Terry Truax has had to coax Blalock to be less bashful with his shot, and it was that stroke that gave the Tigers a 69-68 victory over Mount St. Mary's before 1,585 at the Knott Arena last night.


With 1:30 left, Towson State was down by six and Blalock had a single basket to show for the second half. But he got the Tigers close with two jumpers from the right side, then won it on a three-pointer from the top of the key with four seconds left.

The soft-spoken guard didn't place any extra significance on the victory, but junior forward Stevie Thomas had other ideas. They are the two most experienced players on a team that was blown out in the first half of its opener at Old Dominion, and will play its next two games at Virginia and West Virginia.


"We really needed this," said Thomas, who will get help next week when senior center Jason Crump is done with a four-game suspension. "With all of our young players, we had to get at least one win early to get the confidence we're going to need to play in the big houses."

Blalock, who saw all manner of Mount defenses designed to stop him, ended with a game-high 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting. Thomas had 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Chris McGuthrie had 24 points and sophomore center Randy Edney had 16 and 11 rebounds for the Mountaineers, who made only 10 of their 23 free throws.

"I just can't believe that foul shooting," said coach Jim Phelan, who was denied the 721st victory of his 41-year career. "We knew he [Blalock] was the man they were going to go to, and we still couldn't stop him. That really disturbs me. We should have had the game won several times before that anyway."

Mount St. Mary's, which also had an uninspired effort in its opener last Saturday at Penn State, looked as if it would be the one to get its first victory when it took a 50-41 lead six minutes into the second half.

The Mountaineers (0-2) became aimless on offense, however, and had just one basket in seven minutes, which allowed the Tigers (1-1) to go on an 11-2 run, then take a 55-54 lead on freshman Gary Durrant's three-pointer from the left corner with 6:11 left.

McGuthrie, who had crammed nine points into a 57-second span in the first half, then went nearly 26 minutes without a point before he made a three-pointer from the left side that made it 64-60 in favor of the Mount. He added two free throws with 1:49 to go.

Blalock scored from the right baseline with 1:29 to go, and Riley Inge made one of two free throws for the Mount. The Tigers got a break when Matt Meakin was called for a foul on Florian Schneider, and the sophomore from France hit both shots.


McGuthrie and Silas Cheung both missed chances on the Mountaineers' next possession, and Blalock's transition jumper cut the difference to 67-66 with 27 seconds left. Bla- lock immediately fouled McGuthrie, and when he missed the first and made the second, it gave the Tigers' comeback another boost.

Blalock got the ball with 10 seconds left and backed his way to the top of the key, where he turned and shot over Inge and McGuthrie for the game-winning basket. The Mountaineers took a timeout with two seconds left, and an 18-footer from Michael Watson at the buzzer wasn't the shot they wanted.

TOWSON STATE -- Schneider 2-6 2-3 8, Lexer 1-4 1-2 3, Thomas 5-8 17, Blalock 11-16 2-2 26, Moody 3-7 0-0 8, Robinson 1-3 0-0 2, Durrant 2-4 0-0 5, Keyes 0-6 0-0 0, Biggs 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 26-61 10-15 69.

MOUNT ST. MARY'S -- Cheung 0-3 0-0 0, Meakin 5-8 0-2 10, Edney 7-8 2-4 16, McGuthrie 8-19 5-8 24, Inge 5-10 2-6 13, Robinson 0-4 0-0 0, Watson 2-5 0-1 4, Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Balistrere 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 27-57 10-23 68.

Halftime--Mount St. Mary's, 37-33. 3-point goals--TS 7-17 (Blalock Moody 2-4, Schneider 2-4, Durrant 1-1, Lexer 0-1, Robinson 0-1, Keyes 0-2); MSM 4-14 (McGuthrie 3-9, Inge 1-3, Cheung 0-1, Robinson 0-1.) Rebounds--TS 29 (Thomas 11); MSM 43 (Edney 11.) Assists--TS 14 (Keyes 5); MSM 15 (Inge 8.) Total fouls--TS 21; MSM 15. Fouled out--None. Technicals--None. A--1585.