Dukes strike revenge on Tigers
Towson dropped the second game of the current three-game road trip, falling to James Madison 75-70 Tuesday night in Harrisonburg, Va.
The loss, which snapped Towson’s four-game winning streak, drops the Tigers (14-13, 9-5 Colonial Athletic Association) into a tie for third in the conference with the Dukes (15-12, 9-5 CAA).
“It was your typical, hard-fought conference game against a good team on the road,” Head Coach Pat Skerry said. “I thought we played really hard. On defense, we didn’t quite have that commitment that we normally have.”
Four players scored in double-figures for Towson, marking the second time in 13 games the Tigers have lost when that happens.
Graduate center Bilal Dixon had his second straight “double-double” and his fourth of the season, scoring 13 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Junior forward Jerrelle Benimon recorded his nation leading 18th “double-double” with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Junior guard Marcus Damas scored a game-high 19 points and added six rebounds, while junior guard Mike Burwell added 13 points.
All four players also recorded a block.
“I don’t think our ball movement and shot selection was as good as it needed to be,” Skerry said. “Marcus had a big second half for us to get us going and Mike’s been steady. We just had a hard time closing. When we got up seven, we did some uncharacteristic things with the ball.”
Guard Devon Moore led the Dukes, who also had four players score in double-figures, with 13 points and 10 assists.
Forward Rayshawn Goins also recorded a “double-double,” adding 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Guards A.J. Davis and Andre Nation rounded out the Dukes who scored in double-figures, scoring 17 and 14 points, respectively.
“[Moore and Goins] are really good veterans,” Skerry said. “They had a senior, Davis, come off the bench and he’s an explosive scorer. They have a lot of weapons and we knew that coming in, we just had a hard time neutralizing them.”
James Madison got out to an early 9-2 lead until Benimon made a jumper with 5:20 remaining in the first half to give Towson a 20-19 lead. Both teams would battle back-and-forth for the remaining of the half when the Dukes took a 29-26 lead into the half.
The Tigers controlled the first part of the second half, gaining a lead as large as seven with 12:41 remaining after a jumper from junior guard Rafriel Guthrie.
Guthrie, who scored a career-high 23 points last game, scored only four points against the Dukes.
James Madison would tie the game up at the 8:39 mark after Moore hit a layup.
After flip-flopping leads for the next seven minutes of the game, the Dukes took a 66-60 lead with 1:04 remaining and never looked back.
Despite losing the rebounding margin 42-25, a key in James Madison’s victory was winning the turnover margin. The Dukes forced 15 turnovers while only turning the ball over five times.
“Dixon and Benimon were tremendous on the backboards, we just didn’t take care of the ball well enough which really hurts road teams,” Skerry said. “We had 15 turnovers that led to 18 points off turnovers for them.”
Towson will look to bounce back Saturday afternoon in its final game of the road trip at Hofstra.
Tipoff against the Pride is scheduled for 4 p.m.