Towson (19-9) at Hofstra (8-20)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mack Sports Complex (5,023) -- Hempstead, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Towson 14-1, Hofstra 16-7. Away Record: Towson 5-7, Hofstra 1-12. Neutral Record: Towson 0-1, Hofstra 1-1. Conference Record: Towson 10-3, Hofstra 4-9. Series Record: Hofstra leads, 36-22.
GAME NOTES: The Towson Tigers will venture out for the second part of three- game road trip on Saturday, as they visit the Hofstra Pride for a Colonial Athletic Association tilt at the Mack Sports Complex.
Towson is running out of time to catch league-leading Delaware, with this contest one of only three remaining on the schedule. The Tigers are 19-9 overall and 10-3 in league play, both solid marks, but they trail the Blue Hens by two games in the CAA standings. They will play their final road game of the campaign on Wednesday at James Madison.
Any hope Hofstra might have had at competing for the CAA title evaporated some time ago. The Pride, who are better than only UNC-Wilmington in the league standings (4-9), have lost eight of their last nine games to fall to 8-20 overall. They also play their final road game on Wednesday against William & Mary.
Predictably, Towson rolled over Hofstra, 76-58, when these teams met at the Towson Center on Jan. 27. The Tigers have won three straight against the Pride, who still lead the all-time series though, 36-22.
On the first stop in this current road trip, the Tigers defeated Northeastern, 79-70. Towson shot a scorching 63.6 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes to erase a narrow deficit at halftime. Rafriel Guthrie scored 21 points to lead four players in double figures in the win.
Towson has had very little trouble lighting up the scoreboard this season, as the team is second in the CAA in both scoring (72.9 ppg) and field goal percentage (.454). The Tigers also do a great job of cleaning the glass, ranking first in the conference and 13th nationally in rebounding (40 rpg). Jerrell Benimon (18.4 ppg, 11.5 rpg) powers the team both on offense and on the boards, ranking third in the country in rebounding and fifth in the CAA in scoring. However, he had only eight points and six boards against Northeastern. Marcus Damas (11.7 ppg), Guthrie (11.7 ppg) and Mike Burwell (10.2 ppg) give the Tigers a solid group of complementary contributors.
Hofstra banged heads with Delaware and did itself proud on Thursday, but the Pride still fell short in an 81-77 decision. They led, 41-32, at halftime, but were rolled over in the second half when they shot 41.2 percent from the field and the Blue Hens heated up to 55.2 percent.
The Pride doesn't usually hang up point totals in the high 70s. In fact, they are only averaging 66.9 ppg while sinking 41.3 percent of their shots from the floor. Zeke Upshaw (18.9 ppg) and Dion Nesmith (13.1 ppg, 4.2 apg) are talented guards, who can score, but each could improve his efficiency. Upshaw has netted an even 40 percent from the floor this year, while Nesmith, who is second in the conference in assists, has connected on 38.7 percent. The duo combined to score 48 points in the loss to Delaware. Jamall Robinson (8.9 ppg) was the next best scorer in that game and on the season, as he finished with eight points on Thursday.
Clearly Towson has had some issues on the road, with a 5-7 mark as the away team. In this contest however, the Tigers should be able to improve on that record, especially with Benimon eating up the inside against a Hofstra team that lacks production down low.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Towson 78, Hofstra 65
02/22 10:59:44 ET