Towson gets duked by James Madison
Towson fell to James Madison at the Towson Center Thursday night after a strong second-half surge by the Dukes, propelling them to a 75-61 victory.
The Tigers (7-12, 1-7 Colonial Athletic Association) were able to stay competitive with the Dukes (13-7, 7-1 CAA) for the majority of the first half but couldn’t keep up in the second half.
Head Coach Joe Mathews complemented James Madison’s talented roster.
“I give JMU a lot of credit,” Mathews said. “They play hard, they rebound the ball like crazy, and their backcourt is terrific.”
Towson was at a disadvantage entering the game.
The team is still dealing with the loss of sophomore guard Ciara Webb, who is out for the season with a knee injury.
Injuries have been recurring for the Tigers this season.
One of the top contributors for Towson Thursday night was junior forward Nyree Williams.
Williams helped lead the Tigers on the offensive end, scoring 12 points and recording 10 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end.
She went on to finish the game with a “double-double.”
Williams said her focus on rebounding was the reason for her success.
“For the past few games I’ve really focused on defensive rebounding and for a couple of games I’ve been getting my rebounds up,” Williams said. “But I knew I needed to also get more points this game so I definitely needed that.”
While junior guard Tanisha McTiller led the team in scoring with 23 points, her performance was complemented by Williams and freshman guard Dominique Johnson.
Johnson has only been playing in games for just over a month now, but her on-court presence has already been noticed. She has consistently been the best on-ball defender for the Tigers, which showed in her two steals against JMU.
She also added 13 points in 40 minutes of play.
“I really felt like it was a great opportunity for her,” Mathews said of Johnson’s performance against James Madison’s star guard Tarik Hislop. “There’s still some moments where the freshmen things come out but she’s got a lot of confidence and a lot of ability and she’s going to get better.”
The Tigers held a lead for the first 10 minutes of the game and kept the Dukes in check for most of the first half.
While JMU won by 14, Towson’s up-tempo offense in the second half ignited a late surge.
The second half success for the Tigers is because the team shot 46.4 percent from the field, a 15 percent improvement from the first half.
Towson finished 14-of-19 from the free throw line, with McTiller and Johnson combining to go 11-of-11 on their free throw attempts.
The Tigers also implemented more perimeter shooting into offense Thursday, attempting an uncharacteristic 12 three-point attempts.
McTiller led the Tigers with two three pointers made.
The next home game for the Tigers is Tuesday as the team welcomes CAA foe Drexel. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.