Bleak at best.
That was the outlook for Towson University last night after a horrendous performance against a depleted American University squad that was tired and seemed ready to lose its eighth straight game.
The Eagles virtually rolled over and played dead for Towson in the first half before they showed some semblance of life in the second half to extract a 59-44 victory from the listless Tigers at the Towson Center.
American was coming off a two-game road trip to Southern Cal and UCLA last week, where the Eagles lost to the Trojans by 15 and the Bruins by 10. The Eagles were also playing without three freshmen, Omar Vanderhorst, Bobby Thompson and Bryan Wynn, who are out indefinitely because they violated team rules.
Thompson has left school but now wants to return.
While American (4-8) ended a seven-game losing streak, Towson (1-8) dropped its seventh straight game overall and lost its fourth in a row at home.
It is the worst start for Towson since 1963.
Towson took several major steps backward from a rather impressive outing in its last game, against Lafayette. The Tigers failed to excel at any phase of the game on a night that has to rate as one of the lowest points in coach Mike Jaskulski's two seasons at the school.
Jaskulski not only discovered that one of his supposedly promising big men of the future, 6-foot-8 freshman center Shaun Holtz, may be too soft a player to have an impact at this level, but he also learned he will have to play the rest of the season without talented 6-5 junior forward Torin Ragin, a transfer from Wyoming.
Ragin will undergo surgery to repair a fractured tibia.
Also, Jaskulski quickly found out that the return of leading scorer Pete Mauro was not an immediate answer to any of the team's problems. Mauro quit the team for two games because he was frustrated over his level of play, but he never showed much desire last night in a 2-for-10 shooting performance over 20 minutes.
About the only bright spot for Towson is the projected Jan. 5 return of point guard Marlin Wise.
Towson failed to execute even the simplest of basketball fundamentals last night, getting called for a five-second violation on an in-bounds play under AU's basket, turning the ball over on an ill-advised crosscourt pass by Damon Cason and going 8: 30 at the start of the second half without scoring.
The Tigers, who held a 25-24 lead at halftime, missed their first nine shots of the second half and fell behind, 31-25.
Things went from bad to worse later in the second half when Towson's best player now, Brian Barber, collected his fourth and fifth fouls in a span of 54 seconds and was gone for the night with 6: 17 remaining and Towson down, 42-33.
Barber wound up with nine points to follow Guy Zenou (14 points) in the Towson scoring column.
AMERICAN -- Small 1-4 2-4 4, Doctor 5-13 5-6 15, Telly 2-3 1-5 5, Childs 1-2 7-8 9, Jones 5-11 0-0 13, Olsen 0-0 0-0 0, Bannister 0-0 0-0 0, Gray 2-4 3-4 7, Brown 1-5 0-0 2, Alexander 2-2 0-1 4, Zambon 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 19-46 18-28 59.
TOWSON -- Barber 4-5 1-2 9, Davalli 0-3 0-0 0, Hawes 1-4 1-1 3, de Pablo 1-8 0-0 3, Cason 0-6 0-0 0, Mauro 2-10 1-2 7, White 1-2 0-0 2, Holtz 3-8 0-0 6, Zenou 5-7 2-3 14. Totals 17-53 5-8 44.
Halftime--Towson, 25-24. Three-point goals--AU 3-10 (Jones 3-7, Zambon 0-1, Brown 0-2); TU 5-25 (Zenou 2-2, Mauro 2-8, de Pablo 1-7, Davalli 0-1, White 0-1, Holtz 0-2, Cason 0-4.) Rebounds--AU 46 (Doctor 9); TU 24 (Holtz 6). Assists--AU 9 (Childs 3); TU 12 (Cason 7). Total fouls--AU 13, TU 23. Technicals--Barber, Cason. A--729.
Pub Date: 12/31/98