Eighteen days have passed since Towson State played its last game, a victory over Loyola College on Dec. 10. It's the longest idle stretch since Terry Truax became coach in 1983.
With a 3-5 record and bitten by the flu bug, the Tigers needed the rest.
Now, they get Lefty.
Charles "Lefty" Driesell brings his James Madison Dukes (4-3) to the Towson Center for tonight's 7: 30 game. The former Maryland coach is 147-101 in nine seasons at James Madison, 671-325 overall.
Since being hired at James Madison, the closest Driesell had come to coaching in the Baltimore area was three visits to the Naval Academy during his first three seasons, and a one-point win at Mount St. Mary's in 1990.
But if this game holds special meaning for Driesell, he's keeping it under wraps. "We just want to come in here and try to get a win," he said.
Said Truax: "I'm sure he'll have a lot of friends there. He's got a lot of Terrapin Club people and a lot of personal friends. I think this game will draw more than normal, but the timing is so bad because the students are off campus and it's a Saturday night between Christmas and New Year's, so there are a lot of holiday parties."
While coaching Maryland in 1985, Driesell had reason to celebrate a 91-38 victory over the Tigers. It was his 500th career ++ win.
Towson State has won the last two games against James Madison, including last year's 67-64 victory in Harrisonburg, Va.
"We've got a little revenge motive going for us. But we're an entirely different team, and basically, so are they," Driesell said.
"I think they're much, much improved," Truax said. "They're going to be one of the teams to beat in the Colonial Athletic Association."
The Dukes had seven straight winning seasons under Driesell until last year, when they went 10-20. They've made one NCAA tournament appearance and captured four National Invitation Tournament berths.
Tonight's game also marks the return of James Madison forward Chatney Howard, who played at Southern-AA and Allegany Community College. He leads the Dukes in scoring at 18.6 points.
Pub Date: 12/28/96