William & Mary (19-11) vs. Towson (23-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, March 9, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Baltimore Arena (14,000) -- Baltimore, Maryland. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: W&M 10-4, Towson 15-1. Away Record: W&M 8-7, Towson 7-7. Neutral Record: W&M 1-0, Towson 1-1. Conference Record: W&M 10-6, Towson 13-3. Series Record: William & Mary leads, 14-13.
GAME NOTES: In the second semifinal game of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, the second-seeded Towson Tigers contend with the third-seeded William & Mary Tribe at Baltimore Arena.
These teams are just over a week removed from their last meeting, when Towson escaped with a 70-68 triumph in the regular-season finale. The Tigers also claimed an 85-70 victory on Feb. 15 to pull to within a game in the all-time series, which the Tribe leads by a 14-13 margin. The winner of this bout gets a chance to play in the title game against either Delaware or Northeastern.
Including their recent win over the Tribe and an 80-71 victory over James Madison in the quarterfinals of this tournament, Towson has won seven straight games. The Tigers have grown accustomed to long winning stretches this season as they are 23-9 overall.
William & Mary knocked down the College of Charleston, the sixth seed, 70-59 in the quarterfinals. The win was the third in the last four games overall for the Tribe, who are a victory away from just their second 20-win season in the last 30 years.
Marcus Thornton and Brandon Britt each scored 16 points to power William & Mary past the College of Charleston. The Tribe trailed 40-28 at halftime, but turned in a 56 percent shooting effort, while limiting the Cougars to eight field goals in the second half to earn the win.
The Tribe's play in the second half was much closer to their offensive production for the season. They pace the CAA in field goal percentage (.472) and assists, leading to the third-best scoring average (73 ppg) in the conference. Thornton (18.5 ppg) is the top option for the team, sinking 42.9 percent of his shots and ranking fifth in the CAA in scoring. Tim Rusthoven (12 ppg) missed some time this season, but is a solid second option, while Britt (10.6 ppg) and Omar Prewitt (11.5 ppg) also work into the mix, but mainly as reserves.
Four McGlynn came off the bench to score 21 points and Jerrell Benimon had a solid all-around game, tallying 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for Towson against James Madison. The Tigers took 61 free throws in the contest, and outscored the Dukes from beyond the arc, 27-9.
The Tigers should have no problem keeping up with William & Mary at the offensive end, as they are shooting the second-best percentage from the floor (.452) among all CAA teams and netting 73.2 ppg. They also hold opponents to 68.1 ppg on 39.7 percent shooting, while ranking 18th nationally in rebounds (39.1 rpg), although they were outrebounded by JMU, 40-26. Benimon (18.9 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 3.7 apg) is at the forefront of the offensive efforts, leading the team in scoring and assists as well as rebounding. Providing depth are Rafriel Guthrie (11.8 ppg), Marcus Damas (11.4 ppg) and Mike Burwell (10.3 ppg).
Both of these teams are balanced and efficient on offense. The difference will come in which can defend with more consistency, an area that should favor Towson.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Towson 77, William & Mary 71
03/09 10:21:18 ET