McGlynn’s half-court buzzer beater gives Tigers CIT win
With just over a second left in their first-round game of the College Insider Tournament, the Tigers were expecting to head to overtime against the University of South Carolina Upstate.
They never made it to that overtime period, after Four McGlynn made a miracle half-court shot as time expired, giving the Tigers the 63-60 win. It was the program’s first ever postseason win.
“Well, [I was thinking] that we were fortunate,” Head Coach Pat Skerry said of McGlynn’s shot after the game. “You got to have a little luck, and we definitely had some good luck.”
Junior guard Ty Greene tied the game up for the Spartans (19-15, 11-7 Atlanta Sun Conference) with under six seconds left after getting by the Tiger defense almost completely unguarded. In the previous possession, senior Jerrelle Benimon had tied the game up for the Tigers, running an isolation to his left and making a layup despite being covered by at least two Spartan defenders.
Benimon’s game-tying play was the same play run at the end of the William & Mary game in the CAA Tournament. In that game, Benimon lost the ball out of bounds and the Tigers lost the game, but Skerry said he was still determined to get the ball into the senior’s hands at the end of the game.
“I said that when we lost [against William & Mary] if we had to run the same thing 10 times we’d do it again,” he said. “[Benimon] is a special, special player and tonight he made it. He made it in most of the games this year.”
The last several possessions summed up how the second half of the game went, with both teams going through several lead changes before McGlynn’s buzzer beater. McGlynn ended up finishing the game with nine points, all coming on threes.
Towson (23-10, 13-3 CAA) struggled in the first half of the game, entering the locker room at halftime down by 13 to the Spartans.
At one point in the first half, the Spartans led by as much as 15 points. Towson got off to a slow start shooting, beginning the game by only making one of their first eight attempted three-point shots.
“Upstate was a good team, and they were ready to play,” Skerry said. “They had us on our heels. I thought our effort was better in the second half, we were a little rusty to start the game but we hung in there.”
Despite winning the game, Towson still shot just 39.3 percent from the floor, and 27.3 percent from three, compared to Upstate, who shot 47.1 percent overall.
Towson’s poor shooting allowed for USC Upstate to establish a rhythm in the first half, dominating the first 20 minutes.
However, the Tigers came out strong in the second half, going on a nine-point run after halftime.
The Spartans managed to extend their lead again, but the Tigers kept fighting back, eventually pulling to within 58-55 with 3:08 left in the game.
In addition to the large deficit, the Tigers had to overcome the loss of starting point guard Mike Burwell, who fouled out with six minutes left in the game. Burwell is the team’s primary ball handler, but those duties switched to Benimon and McGlynn once Burwell fouled out.
Burwell struggled in the game, shooting just 4-for-12 from the field, and failing to record a single rebound.
Senior guard Rafriel Guthrie also had a tough game, making just one of his nine shots, and going 0-for-7 from behind the arc. Guthrie also failed on two separate occasions to give Towson the lead. One was on a missed three-pointer since three minutes, and the other was a missed opportunity on free-throws toward the end of the game.
Skerry said he didn’t see one thing in particular with Guthrie’s game.
“He had good looks, but the ball just didn’t go in the basket as much as we’d like,” he said.
Benimon was able to boost the offense though, getting to the basket far more often than he did in the second half and leading all scorers with 20 points.
He attempted six free-throws on the game, after failing to make a field goal in the game until there were just three minutes left in the first half.
There were several lead changes in the second half, but Upstate still led for the majority of the second period and had the game tied until Benimon’s go-ahead bucket.
After Greene’s basket that tied the game, Benimon rushed to get the pass in. McGlynn took the pass and launched up a shot from 55 feet away and made it with no time left on the clock.
The officials had to view a video replay of the shot to confirm that McGlynn released the ball before time expired, but they eventually upheld the basket, leaving the Spartans in shock.
Because the CIT re-seeds after each round, the Tigers will have to wait until the conclusion of the rest of the first-round games Wednesday night to find out who they will play in the next round, but if they are the higher seed, Tiger fans could get a home game in the next round.