Towson extends winning streak
Towson won its fourth consecutive game Saturday afternoon in Atlanta, Ga. beating Colonial Athletic Association foe Georgia State in overtime 90-82.
Junior guard Rafriel Guthrie led the Tigers (14-12, 9-4 CAA) off the bench with a career-high 23 points on 8-10 shooting from the field. Guthrie also added six assists to his stat line.
“He was tremendous,” Head Coach Pat Skerry said. “He was a major catalyst for us today.”
Four other Tigers scored in double figures, including graduate center Bilal Dixon, who recorded his third “double-double” of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Freshman point guard Jerome Hairston scored 17 points while juniors Marcus Damas and Mike Burwell added 14 and 12 respectively.
With the win, Towson improves to 11-1 when four or more players score in double figures.
As a team, Towson shot 56.4 percent from the field, including 13 made three-pointers.
“I thought our ball movement was good,” Skerry said. “Mike Burwell was really good on both ends of the floor. Bilal Dixon played really good ‘ball-screen’ defense all day long, and I thought Jerome made some backbreaking momentum threes. It was really a great team effort.”
The Tigers were not the only team to have an effective day offensively.
The Panthers (12-14, 7-6 CAA) had two players score over 20 points and shot 42.6 percent from the field.
Manny Atkins scored a game-high 26 points and Devonta White added 22 points and seven assists.
“They’re both really good players,” Skerry said. “[Atkins] is just a tough matchup and White is a jet. He’s a really tough guy to cover because of his ability to shoot it, drive it, pass it. There’s a reason why they’ve won a lot of games.”
R.J. Hunter, who scored 27 points the last time these teams met Jan. 21, scored 15 points for Georgia State but was limited to only three made field goals on 16 attempts.
Skerry credited the defense of Burwell and Guthrie as a large factor in Hunter’s struggles on the offensive end of the floor.
Junior forward Jerrelle Benimon, who leads the nation in “double-doubles,” was held without a “double-double” for just the ninth time all season.
Benimon scored seven points, grabbed eight rebounds and made four assists.
“[Georgia State] did a good job. [Benimon] didn’t get a lot of easy touches,” Skerry said. “They did some things to try and double him. He did a good job of keeping his poise in there and battling for us.”
Towson now has a record of 5-1 on the road in CAA games this season, and has 10 total road victories this season, the most since the 1993-94 season.
“Our guys like [playing on the road],” Skerry said. “They like being in hostile environments. They get excited, they like that type of atmosphere. They clearly stepped up and made some big-time plays today in a hostile environment. I was really proud of them.”
The Tigers will look to extend their winning streak to five games Tuesday when they take on the James Madison Dukes in Harrisonburg, Va.
The matchup, which will be a battle for second place in the CAA, is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.