FACTS & STATS: Site: Kaplan Arena (8.600) -- Williamsburg, Virginia. Television: HLN. Home Record: TU 2-5, W&M 4-3. Away Record: TU 5-6, W&M 3-8. Neutral Record: TU 3-0, W&M 0-0. Conference Record: TU 5-3, W&M 1-6. Series Record: William & Mary leads, 13-11.
GAME NOTES: The Towson Tigers have made the trek to Williamsburg, Virginia to take on the reeling William & Mary Tribe in a Colonial Athletic Association bout at Kaplan Arena.
Coaches from both teams will be sporting sneakers along with their suits on Saturday as part of the ninth annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend.
Towson fell at home to George Mason on Wednesday night, 77-67. The loss was its second straight, both being home games. The Tigers are tied for third in the CAA standings at 5-3 after winning just one game all of last season.
With its 95-91, double-overtime setback at Northeastern on Wednesday, William & Mary is the only team in the country with three games that have gone to double-overtime. The recent loss was its sixth in a row and eighth in the last nine decisions outings.
W&M leads the all-time series with Towson, 13-11, which includes an 8-3 mark in Williamsburg. However, the Tigers have won the last two tilts in there. Earlier this season, Towson rallied from a nine-point deficit with two minutes remaining to force overtime, before pulling out a 99-86 victory in the second OT period.
Towson came up just short in a 77-67 loss to George Mason on Wednesday. Junior Rafriel Guthrie came off the bench to score a career-high 18 points. The only other Tiger to reach double figures was junior forward Jerrelle Benimon, who posted 16 points and eight rebounds while seeing his double- double streak snapped at six. Towson shot just 4-of-21 from beyond the arc while committing 16 turnovers. George Mason shot 49.1 percent from the field and 23-of-31 from the free throw line. The Tigers trailed 69-65 with a minute left before GMU ended the game on an 8-2 run with most of its points coming from the free throw line. The Tigers outrebounded the Patriots, 44-34, with Bilal Dixon grabbing a season-high 14 boards
Towson has been powered by Benimon, who averages a double-double consisting of 17 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, along with team-highs of 50 assists and 40 blocks. He has posted a national-best 14 double-doubles. He is an all- purpose weapon, ranking fifth in the conference in scoring, first in rebounding (third nationally), third in field goal percentage (.532) and blocked shots (2.1). Damas adds 9.9 ppg and 5.10 rpg for a Towson team that plays solid defense in limiting foes to just 65.8 ppg, which ranks it fourth in the CAA. Its .392 FG percentage defense has it second. The Tigers are also first in rebounding margin (+5.7) and fourth in scoring margin (+0.6).
The Tribe trailed by as many as 16 points before rallying to force OT behind 73.1 percent shooting and 49 points in the second half. They still managed to fall in double-overtime, 95-91. Tim Rusthoven scored a career-high 25 points to go with 11 rebounds in defeat.
The Tribe's leading scorer, Thornton ranks third in the CAA and 42nd nationally with 18.1 ppg. Rusthoven adds 14.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. The Tribe is the top shooting team in the CAA (.451) and is second in scoring, dropping 68.4 ppg. W&M is the top 3-point defensive team in the CAA and 16th best in the country (.284). The Tribe also lead the league in field goal percentage (.451) and assists (14.1), while ranking third in 3-pointers made (6.4) and second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.0).
Towson's turnaround from last year is impressive and Benimon has been a force that few teams have been able to corral. Expect the combination of Benimon's offense and the Tigers' defense to be the difference.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Towson 74, William & Mary 67
01/26 10:44:14 ET
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