Towson had four players score indouble figures and the preseason favorites in the Colonial Athletic Associationremained undefeated in conference play with a 72-57 win over College ofCharleston on Sunday afternoon at TD Arena.
The Cougars (10-9) moved to 2-2 inconference play as CofC has alternated wins and losses through the first fourof its CAA games. Towson (12-6, 3-0) stayed atop the league standings with theroad win.
Charleston came within two points athalftime, 31-29, but the Tigers' defense slowed CofC in the second half andTowson held a double-digit advantage for the final eight minutes of regulation.
Towson shot 42.9 percent (24-of-56)from the field, while the Cougars were held to just 33.3 percent (20-of-60)shooting. The Tigers converted 10 CofC turnovers into 18 points, althoughCharleston's aggressiveness on the offensive boards led to 17 offensiverebounds and 17 second-chance points.
Graduate senior forward Willis Hall(Charlotte, N.C.) posted a workman-like performance with 20 points, 12 rebounds(six offensive) and four three-pointers. The game was his seventh double-doublethis season, currently the third-most in the CAA.
Junior big man Adjehi Baru (Abidjan,Ivory Coast) scored 15 points with nine rebounds, shooting 7-of-11 from thefield.
Towson was led by preseason CAA Playerof the Year Jerelle Benimon's 21 points and 11 rebounds. Mike Burwell scored 18points with three assists, while Rafriel Guthrie had 14 points, including7-of-10 from the charity stripe off the bench. Vermont transfer Four McGlynnscored 11 points on three treys.
Baru gave CofC a four-point lead withconsecutive buckets in the paint, 21-17, at the 9:52 minute mark of the firsthalf. However, both teams' offenses went cold for a period as the defenses heldstout for just one field goal over the next five minutes.
Towson's McGlynn hit twothree-pointers late to build a 31-25 Towson lead with 2:14 remaining in thehalf. Charleston rallied with a second-chance layup from Hall with a minuteleft and then a layup from Baru as time expired, making the halftime score,31-29.
After a missed alley-oop dunk to startthe second half by Baru, Towson slowly built a lead that reached 43-34 at the14:46 mark after a layup from Timajh Parker-Rivera. CofC fought to keep themargin in single digits with free throws from senior small forward AnthonyThomas (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and a layup from Baru, making it 48-41 with 10:45 left.
Towson, however, used a 9-0 run overthe next five minutes to open a 16-point lead and effectively put the gameaway. The Tigers converted from the free throw line to stymie any Cougarmomentum.
CofC will next host UNC Wilmington(6-14, 0-5 CAA) for a mid-week conference tilt on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m.(ET) at TD Arena. The game will be televised regionally on CSS.
· For the firsttime this season, the Cougars used the starting lineup of junior guard AnthonyStitt, senior combo guard Nori Johnson, senior small forward Anthony Thomas,graduate senior forward Willis Hall and junior forward Adjehi Baru (0-1). Itmarked Johnson's first start of the season and 17th of his career.
· Towson evensthe all-time series with College of Charleston to 2-2 avenging a 75-58 loss tothe Cougars in non-conference play in both teams' 2012-13 season opener.
· Willis Hallturned in his seventh double-double of the season with a team-high 20 points and12 rebounds. It marked his sixth career 20-point outing. He went 4-for-9 frombeyond the arc starting 3-for-3 against Towson making seven straight extendingfrom the Northeastern game (4-for-4) on Jan. 13.
· CofC tiedTowson in the rebounding war, 40-40. Both teams entered the contest ranked No.1 and No. 2 respectively in the CAA in rebounding.
· The Cougarsshot a league season-low 33.3 percent from the floor (20-of-60) against Towson.
· Adjehi Barufell short of a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. It marked his28th career game in double figures and ninth of the season.
College of Charleston Head Coach DougWojcik
On the loss …
"It was a very disappointingperformance from me, my staff and my team. I thought, from the very beginningof the game, we gave up an offensive rebound on the first possession. We justdidn't get the loose balls. We end up tying in the rebounding margin, butthat's because we shot so poorly – 33 percent for the game. Give them (Towson)credit. They came in here with a mission. We beat them pretty good here lastyear. They have some really good players. (Jerelle) Benimon played well, buttheir guards really hurt us. (Mike) Burwell hurt us and Rafriel Guthrie off thebench got 14 points. So, it was a very disappointing performance. We had agreat crowd today. I apologize to the fans that came out and gave up thefootball game to be here. It was supposed to be for at least a tie for secondplace in the league, and now, we're back to square one. We have to scratch andclaw every time from here-on-out the rest of the year."
College of Charleston Graduate SeniorForward Willis Hall
On the team's shooting …
"Coach (Wojcik) said it best, at thatone segment where we got three offensive rebounds in a row, we just couldn'tconvert. At that point, you've got to find something, you have to attack thehole, make shots, one way or the other."