College hoops: St. Joseph’s holds off Towson, 64-57

January 18, 2010 | Drew Forrester

Post-Game —

Towson gave a hearty effort on Monday night at Hagan Arena in Philadelphia, but it wasn’t quite good enough as the Hawks pulled away late to hand the Tigers a 64-57 defeat.

Josh Thornton scored 23 for the Tigers and Jarrel Smith added 17 in a losing cause as the Tigers fell to 4-13 on the year.

The Tigers played 37 of the 40 minutes without guard Brian Morris, who suffered a sprained left ankle at the 3 minute mark and left the arena in crutches afterwards.  Josh Brown played the bulk of the game at point guard for Towson and handled the affair well.  Sophomore guard Troy Franklin did not travel to Philadelphia tonight, leaving the guard duties to Morris and Brown.  Franklin, according to the team’s media release, has left the club for personal reasons.

Towson returns home for a CAA battle with Northeastern this Wednesday night at the Towson Center.

8:51 pm —

St. Joseph’s has pulled out to its biggest lead of the second half, increasing their advantage to 58-52 on a 3-pointer from Garrett Williamson just moments ago.

That dude can plan on my team any day of the week.

8:40 pm —

If Josh Thornton can’t score in the 2nd half, Jarrel Smith sure can.  Smith has 17 points in the game – 15 in this half – and the Tigers are well in this game at St. Joseph’s, trailing the Hawks, 51-50, with 6 minutes to play.

8:36 pm —

Josh Thornton has gone cold and so, naturally, has the Towson offense.

The Tigers now trail St. Joseph’s, 48-45, with 7:56 to play in the game.

Thornton had 16 points for Towson in the first half, but has contributed just two points in this half.

St. Joseph’s has taken advantage of their quickness in transition to assume their first lead since the early stages of the game.

8:25 pm —

This one’s probably going down to the final minute.

Towson is hanging on, but barely, at St. Joseph’s tonight, holding a 41-40 lead with 11:16 to play.

Josh Thornton continues to lead all scorers with 18 points, but he has just 2 points in the second half and they came in the second minute.

8:12 pm —

Here come the Hawks.

St. Joseph’s has quickly cut Towson’s 6-point halftime lead down to two, and it’s Towson 33-St. Joe’s 31 with 16:49 to play in the game.

Josh Thornton has Towson’s only two points of the half to up his game-high total to 18.

7:50 pm —

Josh Thornton (16 points) led Towson on offense and Robert Nwankwo turned in a strong defensive effort as the Tigers have jumped out to a surprising 29-23 halftime lead at St. Joe’s.

Brian Morris suffered an ankle injury three minutes into the game and Josh Brown played the remainder of the half at point guard and turned in a credible performance as the Tigers look to win their second straight after Saturday’s conference victory at Delaware.

Thornton didn’t start tonight and saw his first action at the 15-minute mark of the first half.  He promptly hit his first shots and at one point had 12 points in just eight minutes of play.

7:40 pm —

Josh Thornton is going to try a hook shot from midcourt pretty soon.

I bet he makes it.

Thornton has 16 points in the first half and the Tigers have no pulled ahead, 27-19 at St. Joseph’s.

It’s been quite the shooting display from Thornton, who has only missed three shots all night.

7:32 pm —

It’s been all Josh Thornton over the last 8 minutes, as the senior guard has 14 points to guide Towson to a 21-17 lead at St. Joe’s with 7:38 remaining in the first half.

Thornton has four 3-pointers and a 2-point field goal for the Tigers, who are playing shorthanded at point guard with Josh Brown playing in place of the injured Brian Morris (ankle sprain…out at 17:15 of the first half).

7:24 pm —

Garrett Williamson just brought the house down with a running dunk along the baseline and St. Joseph’s leads Towson, 15-13 with 11:11 remaining in the first half.

Josh Thornton pumped home two straight 3-pointers earlier in the half and the Towson offense has come to life a little bit since Thornton entered the game at the 15 minute mark.

Tigers need to do a better job of defending out on the perimeter.

Excellent crowd on hand at Hagan Arena.  This is a really nice mid-major type arena and the Philly basketball fans have come out tonight.

7:15 pm —

Two early misses from Calvin Lee from close range have helped St. Joe’s jump out to an 8-2 lead at Hagan Arena.

To make matters worse, point guard Brian Morris went down at the 17:15 mark of the first half, turning his left ankle in a battle for a loose ball under the basket.  He has retreated to the locker room for treatment.  With Troy Franklin back in Baltimore and not with the team tonight in Philly, Pat Kennedy will now use junior guard Josh Brown to bring the ball up court and control the offense.

6:45 pm —

Towson takes on St. Joe’s of the A-10 tonight in Philadelphia and they’ll be doing battle with the Hawks without the services of guard Troy Franklin.

Why isn’t he playing?

Depends on who you ask.

The team’s official game notes indicate Franklin (Mt. Carmel HS) has “taken a leave of absence for personal reasons”.

He’s an excellent student at TU, so “personal reasons” aren’t academic related.

I’m guessing the personal reasons have more to do with the basketball coaching staff not being a fan of Troy’s sometimes-wild play and general malaise on defense.

That said, I’ve always liked him as a player.  He goes north to south and wants to play an up-tempo style.  With that, naturally, comes a few more turnovers per-game than you would want your point guard to accumulate.  Point guards are a mercurial lot.  They want the game to revolve around them.  Good ones are especially adept at controlling the game and bringing everyone else on the team along with them.  I thought at times Troy did that very well going forward.  Defensively, though, that wasn’t necessarily the case.

Brian Morris will start at point guard for the Tigers tonight, with help from Josh Brown.

As for Franklin, he did not make the trip to Delaware on Saturday and is not with the team tonight in Philly.

For a team desperate to get any win they can, that says a lot.

Preview —

Fresh off their first conference win of the year Saturday at Delaware, the Towson Tigers are in Philadelphia tonight to take on St. Joseph’s University at Hagan Arena.

For reasons unclear to me, I am in Philadelphia for the game.

Well, I’m here because I want to be here.  I love college basketball.  I’d like to see the Tigers win tonight.

But anytime I make the drive up I-95 and start to see the signs for “the worst city in America”, I break out in hives.

Bobby Clarke, Reggie Leach, Rick MacLeish, Ed Hospadar, Ken Linseman, Dave Poulin, Brian (F’ing) Propp.  Those scumbags made me miserable many a night at the Cap Centre in the 70’s and 80’s.

The Flyers suck and so does anything connected with Philadelphia except Hall and Oates, Randy Monroe and Patti LaBelle.

I’ll be back with the in-game blog in a little while.