College hoops: Towson survives last minute scare to beat JMU

February 08, 2010 | Drew Forrester

Post-game review —

Talk about never giving up until the final horn sounded.

The James Madison Dukes threw a scare into Towson tonight, as the Tigers watched a 16-point second half lead nearly evaporate before Troy Franklin finally hit two foul shots with 4.2 seconds left to provide Pat Kennedy’s team with an 81-78 win at the Towson Center.

Madison trailed by 7 points with 1 minute left in the game but got back-to-back three pointers in the game’s final 31 seconds to get within a point before Franklin hit both foul shots to seal the win for Towson.

The Tigers (6-17 overall, 3-10 in CAA) got 21 points from Jarrel Smith and 13 from RaShawn Polk to earn their first home conference win of the season.

James Madison (also 3-10/CAA) had a huge night from Denzel Bowles, who poured in 29 points and collected 13 rebounds in a losing cause.

Towson returns home on Wednesday night to take on struggling UNC Wilmington, a team they just beat in Wilmington on January 30.

9:05 pm —

It got a little dicey with about 5 minutes to play, but barring a miracle finish from JMU, the Towson Tigers are going to win their first home conference game of the season tonight at the Towson Center.

The Tigers lead 74-67 with 1:07 left in this one.

Jarrel Smith continues to lead the Tigers with 19 points.

Denzel Bowles leads all scorers and JMU with 27 points.

8:50 pm —

What was once a comfortable 16-point lead for Towson has been sliced to 7 by James Madison with 5:31 left in the game.  Denzel Bowles has 24 for the Dukes, who have suddenly found life in the last five minutes.

The Tigers have five players with 3 or more fouls.

I can’t imagine they’re going to lose this one…but if they do…holy cow.

8:35 pm —

Jarrel Smith leads the Towson scoring attack with 15 points and the Tigers now own a 57-44 lead with 11:19 to play in the game.

The Tiger led 35-28 at the half, but have opened as much as a 16-point advantage here in the second half over a ragged Dukes squad.

Denzel Bowles still leads JMU and all scorers with 17 points.

8:20 pm —

Towson starting to pull away from James Madison now, as the Tigers have opened up their biggest lead of the game, 44-33, with 15:15 remaining.

Jarrel Smith just canned a 3-pointer to up his team-high total to 13 for the game.

Josh Brown had two nifty one-on-one moves for baskets on successive trips down the court, as the Tigers look for their first home CAA win of the season.

Denzel Bowles still leads JMU and all scorers with 14 points.

8:00 pm —

Towson outscored James Madison, 17-7, in the final 8 minutes of the first half and leads at the intermission, 35-28.  The Tigers (2-10/CAA) are paced by Jarrel Smith (8 points) and Isaiah Philmore (7) while James Madison (3-9/CAA) has the game’s top two scorers in Denzel Bowles (14) and Julius Wells (10).

There was an interesting moment in the final 30 seconds of the half.  Moments after a pass intended for him was intercepted by Bowles and slammed home for JMU’s final points of the half, Towson’s Robert Nwankwo literally stopped playing for the final half minute of play.  He just wandered around the paint and under the basket and gave dismissive looks to anyone who even remotely appeared like they might throw the ball to him.  Not sure what that was all about…but it was evident he wasn’t pleased with something or someone.

Towson’s 7-point lead should be more than enough for them in the second half.  James Madison’s not very good.  Then again, the Tigers are 2-10 in CAA play.

7:51 pm —

And then, the officials got involved.

With Towson leading 30-21, the refs decided to get in the act and two straight odd foul calls on Towson led to four quick points from JMU and an earful from Pat Kennedy.  The Tigers lead, 30-25, with 3:09 left in the first half.

7:45 pm —

Sparked by two terrific passes from point guard Troy Franklin and ice cold shooting from James Madison, the Tigers have produced a 12-0 first half run and now lead the Dukes, 30-21 with 5:37 to play in the opening 20 minutes.

Josh Thornton’s first bucket of the game just moments ago – a 3-pointer – earned a time-out from JMU coach Matt Brady, who then barked at his team throughout much of the 30-second break.

Denzel Bowles continues to lead all scorers with 11 points for the Dukes.

7:32 pm —

Denzel Bowles leads JMU with 11 points and some guy named Ben Louis who pronounces his last name “Lou-ee” just had a bucket to put the Dukes ahead by 3 points, 21-18, with 11:43 to play in the first half.  Julius Wells has 8 points for Madison.

Isaiah Philmore is Towson’s leading scorer with 7 points thus far.

JMU leads in rebounding, 8 to 4.

7:22 pm —

James Madison leads at the first media time-out, 12-11, with 15:56 to play in the first quarter.

Denzel Bowles has KILLED the Tigers under the basket, with 9 points thus far.  He’s taking advantage of a depleted Tigers line-up…Robert Nwankwo has yet to see action for Towson and the down-low duo of Calvin Lee and Jarrel Smith has been no match for the bigger, stronger Bowles.

Isaiah Philmore has 5 points to pace the Tigers in the early going.

As the teams return the court, Nwankwo (shoulder sprain) has checked into the game.  I guess Pat Kennedy figures his team can’t win if Bowles scores on every JMU possession.

Two days and two feet of snow later, James Madison and Towson finally get going tonight at the Towson Center.  This game was originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon before the monster snowfall killed all weekend athletic plans at Towson.

JMU is 3-9 in the CAA, with one of those wins coming against Towson, while the Tigers are 2-10 in conference play and without a home victory in the CAA this season.

Rumor flying around the Towson Center is that Towson has parted company with David Brewster after two fairly unproductive seasons here.  He’s been battling academic problems in both of his seasons and has played sparingly this year.  He’s nowhere to be seen in the building this evening, if that’s any indication that the rumors have some foundation.

Back with occasional updates as the game moves along.