Towson (16-9) at William & Mary (15-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Kaplan Arena (8,600) -- Williamsburg, Virginia. Television: CSN-MA, PHI, NE, CSS, SNY. Home Record: TU 13-1, W&M 7-3. Away Record: TU 3-7, W&M 8-5. Neutral Record: TU 0-1, W&M 0-0. Conference Record: TU 7-3, W&M 7-3. Series Record: William & Mary leads, 14-11.
GAME NOTES: In a battle for second place in the Colonial Athletic Association standings, the Towson Tigers take to the road to battle the William & Mary Tribe on Saturday afternoon.
Towson fell at UNC Wilmington last Saturday, 66-53. That loss snapped a four- game win streak for the Tigers.
William & Mary comes into this contest as winners of three straight, most recently taking down Northeastern in an 82-70 final in Boston last Saturday.
William & Mary leads the all-time series with Towson, 14-11, which includes a 9-3 mark in Williamsburg. Last season, the teams split the series with each winning on its home court. After Towson rallied for a double-OT win in Maryland, the Tribe downed the Tigers, 63-56, in Williamsburg.
In the loss to UNCW, the Tigers were paced by Jerrelle Benimon who registered a double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds, while Marcus Damas added a double-double of his own with 11 points and 10 boards, and Timajh Parker- Rivera accounted for 10 rebounds. Towson was limited to only 1-of-11 shooting behind the 3-point line and trailed 30-25 at the break. In the second half, the Tigers again struggled from the perimeter (2-of-9) and converted a total of just eight field goals, making it easier for UNCW to cruise to the comfortable victory.
Benimon has been a monster for the Tigers this season, starting all 25 games and averaging a double-double with 18.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per contest, one of the few players in the nation that can say that. But Benimon is happy to share the wealth and get his teammates involved in the action as well, thanks to his team-high 94 assists. Damas and reserve Rafriel Guthrie have benefited most from Benimon's generosity as they are averaging 12.2 and 11.5 ppg, respectively. As a unit, the Tigers net 72.0 ppg, third-best in the CAA, and give up 67.8 ppg. They play excellent defense, holding opposing teams to just 39.4 percent shooting from the field, which is the top mark in the league.
Marcus Thornton scored a game-high 25 points as the Tribe downed the Huskies. Thornton, who shot 3-of-6 from 3-point range and 8-of-13 from the floor, added five assists and five steals for the Tribe, while Tim Rusthoven and Omar Prewitt both chipped in 13 points and Brandon Britt had 12 off the bench. William & Mary scored the first points of the contest and never looked back, shooting an impressive 60.7 percent from the field, including 5-of-8 behind the 3-point line through the first 20 minutes to claim a commanding 45-18 advantage at the break, as they cruised to victory.
On the season, Thornton ranks second in the CAA in scoring with 20.0 ppg and is a 42.2 percent shooter from beyond the arc. Rusthoven (12.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Prewitt (11.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg) also average double figures. As a unit, they are scoring 72.9 ppg, second-best in the CAA and giving up 70.6 ppg. They are tops in the conference in field goal percentage, knocking down shots at a 47.2 percent clip but with a league-worst 45.7 percent field goal defense.
In the battle for second place, it's no surprise that these teams match up well at the offensive end. The difference between them looks to be the defense, and in that arena, it's the Tigers that have the advantage that should help them leave with the win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Towson 74, William & Mary 69
02/15 10:24:34 ET