59 fouls called in TU loss to rival Delaware
Towson and Delaware is a rivalry that has become etched in the local communities as a football rivalry. The schools have met 15 times over roughly 30 years and have been involved in multiple nail-biters.
However, the rivalry took to the hardwood Saturday in Newark, Del., as the two universities met as the top two seeds in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Delaware was a perfect 5-0 in conference, while Towson boasted a 3-1 record.
Once again, the Tigers and Blue Hens played a closely contested game, but Delaware held home court and held off a late Towson run to win 83-76.
“Credit to [Delaware]. They’re a good team and it’s a good atmosphere up there,” Head Coach Pat Skerry said. “It was a typical hard-fought CAA game. … Some of our better players just had a tough night shooting the basketball.”
As it did in Wednesday night’s 57-54 loss to Northeastern, Towson (12-8, 3-2 CAA) struggled mightily on offense in the first half.
The Tigers were 0-for-8 from three-point range, turned the ball over 13 times and committed 17 fouls before heading into the half down 40-25 to the Blue Hens (14-7, 6-0 CAA).
“I just think there were some silly turnovers,” Skerry said. “Veteran guys just have to make simple, winning plays for 40 minutes.”
However, the second half was a much different game. In fact, it was one that resembled the rivalry on the football field, as bodies regularly hit the floor as a total of 59 fouls were called, including three technicals.
For Towson, senior guard Rafriel Guthrie and redshirt-freshman forward Barrington Alston both fouled out.
“A lot of fouls. It was the longest game that I have ever been apart of,” Skerry said.
Despite losing two players, including its sixth man, the plethora of fouls helped Towson get within single digits.
For the game, the Tigers shot 71.8 percent (28-39) from the charity stripe, compared to Wednesday night’s game where they shot roughly 62 percent.
The Blue Hens also saw much time at the line, but only converted 63.4 percent of the time.
The Tigers clawed their way to within four at 65-61 with 6:40 remaining in the game after a layup by freshman forward Walter Foster.
A little over a minute later, Delaware increased the lead back to seven before senior forward Jerrelle Benimon hit a layup to cut the lead to five.
After a pair of free throws from sophomore forward Timajh Parker-Rivera, the Tigers cut the deficit to 76-71 with 2:26 remaining.
The teams went scoreless over the next minute before Delaware senior forward Devon Saddler, a Baltimore native, hit a three-pointer over Benimon that virtually sealed the game for the Blue Hens.
Saddler finished the game with 23 points, while Benimon finished with 29 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks for his 13th double-double on the season. It’s also the seventh time in the past eight games that Benimon has scored at least 20 points.
“Both are terrific players. Jerrelle was super for us on both ends of the floor,” Skerry said. “He really played incredibly hard and was focused. If he can do that every night moving forward, we’ll get a lion’s share of victories.”
Towson battled for the final minute, but despite scoring 51 points in the second half, failed to take down the top-ranked team in the conference.
Three-point shooting continued to be a problem for Towson. The Tigers made just 2-of-17 from beyond the arc, and three-point specialist Four McGlynn went 0-of-5 from three-point range. The sophomore guard finished the game with just two points. It was just the second time this season he failed to hit a three-pointer this season.
“Usually when you shoot a low percentage, you’re either a bad shooter or you’re shooting bad shots. I think we’re better shooters than what we showed today,” Skerry said.
Towson will now try to get back on track against Hofstra, who comes to town Monday.
“Every night is a tough battle. We have to play a consistent 40 minutes of basketball or close to that,” Skerry said. “For us it starts with defending and rebounding and we obviously can’t turn the ball over. But they’re good and they’re going to play hard. They rebound and they have some guys that can score, so it’ll be a tough test for us.”
The Tigers will be looking to avenge its lone loss at home when it hosts the Pride at 7 p.m. The game, which will be the third in six days for Towson, can be seen on Comcast SportsNet.