|Tigers Subdue Seahawks In CAA Battle|
TOWSON, Maryland – Towson and reigning CAA Player-of-the-Year Jerrelle Benimon have not lost this season in pristine SECU Arena, their sparkling new black-and-gold facility situated adjacent to the old Towson Center.
And they still haven’t.
Benimon, a skilled 6-9, 245-pound ball of talent, netted 20 points on an assortment of moves and hauled in 17 rebounds as Towson edged UNCW, 60-53, on the second leg of UNCW’s two-game swing to the Northeast early Saturday.
The Tigers improved to a perfect 9-0 at SECU Arena by overcoming 34 percent shooting and UNCW’s valiant defensive effort on a rainy day in Towson. Pat Skerry’s ball club stands 10-6 overall after taking its Colonial Athletic Association debut and has reeled off three straight victories.
UNCW, meanwhile, is going the other direction, suffering its seventh consecutive loss since a 69-50 dismantling of Campbell back in early December to fall to 6-12 and 0-3.
"I felt like we played well enough to win the game," said fourth-year UNCW Head Coach Buzz Peterson. "When it gets down to crunch time, we have to find ways to make stops. That makes the second straight game on the road where we were right there. It was a very good college basketball game."
Benimon, who attempted just four field goals in the first half, led all scorers with his 10th double-double of the season and his 15 consecutive game scoring in double figures. Sophomore shooting guard Four McGlynn was the only other player in double figures with 11 points for the Tigers, who committed just six turnovers in the game.
Senior guard Chris Dixon paced UNCW for the third time with 17 points. Junior forward Cedrick Williams added 15 points and junior guard Addison Spruill had 11 points and a career-high nine rebounds.
The Seahawks held Benimon in check early and trailed by just two points at intermission, 26-24, before the Tigers held on down the stretch and made several critical plays in the final minute against the upset-minded Seahawks.
The game was tied at 30-all with 16:47 remaining when Towson pieced together an 8-0 mini-run for a 38-30 cushion. Benimon scored eight of his team’s first 12 points in the half and wound up with 16 points and eight rebounds in the last 20 minutes.
The Seahawks were still behind, 55-46, with 3:20 left, but staged a late rally to vault back into the game for the second straight outing. Dixon’s layup with 1:58 on the clock pulled the Seahawks within, 55-51, but Marcus Dumas responded with a bank shot and Towson added four free throws in the final minute to nail down the home win.
UNCW opened the game well and freshman Chuck Ogbodo, making his first career start, sank a jumper along the left baseline to give the Seahawks a 9-5 edge with 13:29 remaining in the first half.
But Towson scored 11 of the next 12 points to gain control. Sophomore forward Timajh Parker-Rivera got things started with a free throw and McGlynn drained a long three-pointer from the right corner to give the Tigers a 16-10 advantage. The lead ballooned to 26-17 on Rafriel Guthrie’s triple in the same spot with 5:21 left in the first half before the Seahawks rallied.
UNCW scored the final eight points of the half and held Towson scoreless the rest of the way to climb within, 26-24 at the break. The Tigers managed just 32 percent shooting in the opening period and had just six points in the paint against the Seahawks.
The Seahawks return to Trask Coliseum to kick off a two-game homestand on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. tilt against Hofstra’s Pride. It will be new Pride skipper Joe Milhalich’s first trip to the Port City. Towson…
GAME NOTES: Towson has now won four in a row over UNCW…UNCW still leads the all-time series, 16-13, with a 13-9 edge since the Tigers joined the CAA…Coach Buzz Peterson stands 5-25 in CAA road games…UNCW has not won in Towson since Feb. 12, 2011…It marked the third straight game the Seahawks have been an opponent’s CAA opener…The Seahawk bench was held scoreless for the first time this season…Towson finished with a 38-35 rebounding edge…UNCW has just eight miscues…The Seahawks went 2-of-14 from three-point range…The Seahawks scored 24 of their 53 points in the paint…UNCW held Benimon to just three offensive rebounds.