Still Hen-pecked, Towson can't shake Del.; 73-56 win is fifth straight by Blue Hens over Tigers


If not for the opponent, yesterday's scenario would have been a nice one for Towson, needing to bounce back after three consecutive losses on the road.

After a week off, the Tigers would return to action at home, and in front of a nice crowd pumped up because of the presence of television.

The only problem was, Delaware hasn't been much of a vacation for Towson in recent years. That trend continued as the Blue Hens beat the Tigers, 73-56, their fifth straight win in the series before 1,748 at Towson Center.

Mike Pegues scored 24 and John Gordon scored 20 for Delaware (17-5, 10-3 America East), which kept Towson (5-16, 4-9) in search of its first win between the teams since 1997, and of its first win overall since beating Maine on Jan. 24. Though the Tigers had played Delaware close in three of the previous four matchups, most of the second half was moot as the Blue Hens held a 57-40 lead after a layup by John Bennett.

"We got beat by a very good basketball team playing at the top of their game," Towson coach Mike Jaskulski said. "They took us out of our offense and everything we tried to do."

The Blue Hens, defending regular-season and tournament champions, came into yesterday 1 1/2 games behind Drexel and a half-game behind Hofstra. Also carrying a week's rest into the game, Delaware had some sharp practices leading up to the trip to Towson.

"We had fresh legs," Delaware coach Mike Brey said. "We took a couple of days off, and then we were very sharp Thursday and Friday in practice."

For most of the first 20 minutes, Towson kept Delaware in reach, as the teams traded the lead 11 times in the first half. Josh Davalli's steal and layup at the 7: 53 mark established the game's biggest lead for Towson at 22-19.

But lax defense beyond the arc continued to thwart Towson, as Delaware connected on six of its eight three-point attempts in the first half. In particular, Gordon roamed freely, hitting four of his five tries from long range. His three-pointer with 3: 22 left gave the Blue Hens a 31-26 lead and started a 7-0 run that resulted in a 35-26 edge at the half.

Short-handed with Torin Ragin out for the season, Raul de Pablo out temporarily and reserve Guy Zenou ailing, Jaskulski was forced to go to a zone early in the second half and Gordon made him pay. The junior guard hit two threes in 35 seconds, giving Delaware a 47-35 lead with 14: 25 remaining that Towson didn't threaten.

"We were dead tired," Jaskulski said. "We had to go zone [there] because we were exhausted. The depth factor took its toll, and it showed against a team where the margin for error is so small."

Gordon ended up hitting six of eight three-pointers, his success creating space for Pegues, whose 20th point with 6: 22 left gave Delaware a 64-47 lead.

DELAWARE -- Perry 3-7 0-0 8, Gordon 6-9 2-2 20, Pegues 9-20 6-7 24, Marciulionis 3-7 0-1 7, Bennett 3-4 0-0 6, Miller 0-4 0-0 0, Ndiaye 0-1 0-0 0, Mullen 0-1 0-0 0, Diouf 4-6 0-0 8, Arnold 0-1 0-0 0, Gonzalez 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-61 8-10 73.

TOWSON -- Barber 6-9 1-2 13, Davalli 2-4 0-0 5, Hawes 3-8 3-4 9, Wise 5-11 1-3 11, Mauro 2-9 0-0 5, Cason 0-1 1-2 1, Holtz 2-5 0-1 4, Zenou -3 1-1 7, White 0-0 1-4 1, Augustus 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-51 7-14 56.

Halftime--Delaware, 35-26. 3-point goals--Delaware 9-16 (Gordon 6-8, Perry 2-4, Marciulionis 1-3, Mullen 0-1), Towson 3-11 (Davalli 1-2, Mauro 1-5, Wise 1-3, Cason 0-1). Fouled out--Barber. Rebounds--Delaware 34 (Bennett 8), Towson 33 (Barber 6). Assists--Delaware 18 (Marciulionis, Gordon 6), Towson 16 (Wise 8). Total fouls--Delaware 16, Towson 17. Technicals--Marciulionis. A--1,748.

Pub Date: 2/08/99

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