Towson falls short against Drexel; Tigers' three-pointers miss at end of 59-56 loss


Though Towson's 59-56 loss last night wasn't as shameful as the previous setback against Drexel, there is little doubt that it was every bit as painful.

Playing against a team tied for first place in America East, the Tigers (3-12, 2-5) kept after the Dragons (10-4, 7-1) for nearly every minute of the game only to fall after watching possible game-tying three-pointers by Pete Mauro and Raul dePablo go short in the final five seconds.

The last time these two teams met, in Philadelphia, Towson took a 16-point lead only to lose it in the final five minutes. This time, in front of 568 at the Towson Center, the Tigers clawed back from an 11-point first-half deficit to take the lead at one point. But a stagnant offense and a couple of key Drexel plays killed any chance for the first win over an upper-division team since beating Delaware in the last game of the 1996-97 season.

"This is painful because it would have been a watershed win," said Towson coach Mike Jaskulski, whose team had won two of its last four games after dropping 10 of the first 11. "We can't lose sight of the fact that we're playing well and that if we do that, we're going to pull ourselves up."

Joe Linderman, whose fight with Derrick Newton marred the last meeting, led Drexel this time with 24 points, including a basket with 1: 49 remaining to take a 57-54 lead. Marlin Wise, who scored 10 points in the final 10 minutes and tied Brian Barber for team-high honors with 15, brought the Tigers within 57-56 with 1: 32 remaining.

But Towson had the ball, 40 seconds remaining and a chance to take the lead when Wise's circus shot attempt went off the front of the rim and into the hands of Mike Kouser, who hit a hook off the glass with nine seconds left for the final score and Drexel's eighth straight win.

"This was a game where the margin for error was slim," Jaskulski said. "They made a big play with [nine] seconds left; we had a chance to answer and we didn't."

Drexel, shooting often and accurately, nearly scored 100 points against Northeastern on Sunday. It couldn't recapture that magic for the most of the first half, as Towson held the Dragons scoreless for more than five minutes before Linderman's three-point play at the 14: 41 mark.

Josh Davalli, who finished with 13 points, said Towson felt good coming into the game after a 56-53 win at Vermont on Jan. 16 and that it continued to make strides despite the loss.

"We have to keep playing well and let the chips fall where they may," Davalli said. "If we keep it up, we're going to beat some teams."

DREXEL -- Neisler 2-7 0-0 6, Sanders 2-3 0-0 4, Linderman 10-16 4-4 24, Coursey 1-6 0-0 2, De- Rocckis 4-9 2-2 13, Gaffney 0-2 0-0 0, Dearborn 0-0 0-0 0, Kouser 3-5 1-2 7, Riley 0-1 3-4 3, Burch 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-50 10-12 59.

TOWSON -- Barber 7-12 1-2 15, Davalli 4-8 4-5 13, Hawes 3-4 0-0 6, Wise 6-12 2-3 15, de Pablo 1-4 0-0 3, Mauro 1-5 0-0 2, Cason 0-1 0-0 0, Holtz 0-1 0-0 0, Zenou 1-5 0-0 2, Augustus 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-52 7-10 56.

Halftime--Drexel, 29-27. 3-point goals--D 5-20 (DeRocckis 3-7, Neisler 2-5, Burch 0-1, Kouser 0-1); T 3-12 (Wise 1-2, Davalli 1-3, de Pablo 1-4, Zenou 0-1, Mauro 0-2). Rebounds--D 31 (Linderman 9); TU 28 (Wise 7). Assists--D 17 (Coursey 10); T 12 (Wise 4). Total fouls--D 15, T 15. A--568.

Pub Date: 1/20/99

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