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Towson (24-10) at East Tennessee State (19-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 21st, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center (8,539) -- Johnson City, Tennessee. Television: None. CIT Record: Towson 1-0, East Tennessee State 3-1. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Towson Tigers try to follow up a dramatic win in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament earlier this week, as they clash with the East Tennessee State Buccaneers in the second round of the event on Friday night at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The Tigers, enjoying one of their finest seasons in quite some time, registered their first-ever postseason victory on Wednesday night versus USC Upstate thanks to a half-court heave by Four McGlynn at the end of regulation, resulting in a thrilling 63-60 triumph at the Hodge Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Towson has now won eight of the last nine outings, the lone setback coming against William & Mary by a mere four points, 75-71, during the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament in Baltimore back on March 9.
As for the Buccaneers, members of the Atlantic Sun Conference, their first game in the tourney three nights ago was not quite as challenging, as they dismissed the Chattanooga Mocs by a final of 79-66 here at home.
The Bucs are involved in this tournament for the second time, having taken part in the event back in 2011 when they defeated both Furman and Ohio before bowing to Iowa on the semifinals, 83-80.
The winner of this first-ever meeting heads to the tournament's quarterfinals which begin next week, against an opponent to be determined.
McGlynn came off the bench to tally nine points for the Tigers, hitting on 3- of-7 shots behind the 3-point line for a squad that finished only 6-of-22 on the perimeter. Leading the offensive charge for Towson was Jerrelle Benimon with 20 points, filling out his stat line with nine rebounds, three assists and three steals as well. Marcus Damas and Mike Burwell both dropped in 11 points, the latter shooting only 4-of-12 from the field before fouling out. Towson survived despite shooting only 39.3 percent from the floor.
The player to watch for the Tigers is clearly Benimon who, prior to the USC Upstate meeting, was averaging 18.9 ppg, on the strength of 52.7 percent accuracy from the floor, not to mention also pacing the program on the glass (11.5 rpg), in assists (120) and blocked shots (39), a rarity in college basketball anymore these days. Because of Benimon's efforts on the boards, Towson's edge in that department was 5.5 rpg before the trip to South Carolina.
The outing for the Bucs three nights ago was far less stressful than the effort made by Towson the following evening, as ETSU held the Mocs to a mere 31.4 percent shooting from the floor and outscored the visitors at the free- throw line, 21-12. Jalen Riley led the charge off the bench for the Bucs with his game-high 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the floor and 9-of-10 at the free-throw line in 27 minutes of action. Rashawn Rembert pitched in with 17 points and four steals, Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard 12 points and A.J. Merriweather 11, while Hunter Harris contributed with 12 rebounds.
Through a total of 34 games, the Buccaneers are generating a solid 76.8 ppg, generating almost 20 points per game at the free-throw line alone. However, the squad's defense has not been making things easy as it gives up another 75.9 ppg. Rembert, the only player to have started every game, leads the way with 16.8 ppg, having connected on an impressive 105-of-244 (.430) beyond the arc.
Now that the over-the-top theatrics are out of the way for the Tigers, Benimon and his crew can focus more on a steady attack that should make a less- dramatic win more likely on the road tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Towson 74, East Tennessee State 68
03/21 10:45:25 ET
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