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William & Mary (7-6) at Towson (7-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 9, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Towson Center Arena (5,200) -- Towson, Maryland. Television: None. Home Record: W&M 4-2, Towson 0-2. Away Record: W&M 3-4, Towson 4-6. Neutral Record: W&M 0-0, Towson 3-0. Conference Record: W&M 1-1, Towson 2-0. Series Record: W&M leads, 13-10.
GAME NOTES: Two teams veering in opposite directions will meet up at Towson Center Arena, as the Towson Tigers host the William & Mary Tribe in Colonial Athletic Association action.
The streaky Tribe opened their season with a three-game winning streak, then followed that up with a three-game losing streak, a four-game win streak and most recently a three-game skid. William & Mary is coming off Saturday's 73-66 loss to George Mason and finds itself right back on the road. That game marked the Tribe's only contest in Williamsburg in a stretch of six games, as tonight's tilt begins a three-game road trip.
Meanwhile, Towson has rebounded from a four-game slide by winning each of its last three outings. All three of those wins came on the road, including Saturday's 69-66 triumph at Drexel to improve to 2-0 in league play. The Tigers have played only two home games this season and lost both of them.
W&M leads the all-time series, 13-10, although Towson has won three of the last four meetings.
Junior guard Brandon Britt buried a 3-pointer to tie things up against George Mason with three minutes to play. However, the Patriots answered with seven straight points to put the game away. For W&M, Tim Rusthoven notched his first double-double of the season, as he finished with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go along with a game-high 11 rebounds. Sophomore Marcus Thornton also scored 19, while Britt was right on his heels with 18 points. After the Tribe claimed a 37-33 halftime lead, George Mason shot 59.1 percent from the floor in the second half and outscored W&M, 40-29. The Tribe were also unable to overcome GMU's 37-25 rebounding advantage, which included a key 14-7 edge on the offensive glass. On the season, Thornton paces the team with 18.0 points per game, while averaging 2.5 threes per contest. Rusthoven (14.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Britt (13.8 ppg) round out the Tribe's double-digit scorers.
For the Tribe to win this game on the road, they'll have to do a much better job of boxing out and crashing the boards as Towson is +5.5 in rebounding margin on the season. In addition to their size, the Tigers are also solid on the defensive end, holding foes to 38.4-percent shooting from the floor. The tradeoff lies with their perimeter play, as the Tigers are shooting just 29.9 percent from beyond the arc and do not have any consistent shooters who can stretch a defense. Still, Jerrelle Benimon is a handful for any opponent in the paint, as he averages 16.5 points and is tied for fourth in the nation with 11.7 rebounds per tilt. Benimon posted his ninth double-double in Saturday's victory, scoring 18 points and pulling down 16 boards to help Towson snap Drexel's 17-game regular-season CAA win streak. The Tigers scored the final 11 points of the first half to go up by 14 at the break, and they never looked back.
Towson is 2-0 in CAA play for the first time ever, and the Tigers are coming off their first three-game road winning streak since the 1992-93 season. Their lack of outside shooting is a concern, but the Tigers match up well against the smaller Tribe.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Towson 68, William & Mary 63
01/09 10:34:36 ET
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