College hoops: Towson loses at home to Old Dominion, 87-71

January 04, 2010 | Drew Forrester

Final re-cap

Too much Gerald Lee, too much ODU rebounding and not enough Towson firepower tonight at the Towson Center as the Tigers fell to Old Dominion, 87-71.

Lee, a pre-season all CAA selection, had 19 points on the night to go with 7 rebounds.   Ben Finney had 17 for ODU, now 10-5 on the year and 2-1 in the CAA.

The Monarchs won the game by dominating the boards, out-rebounding Towson, 44-23.

The Tigers were paced by Robert Nwankwo (18 points, 8 rebounds) and Josh Thornton (11).

Towson drops to 3-9 on the year and 0-3 in CAA play.

Coach Pat Kennedy was ejected with 8:56 to play in the game after drawing his 2nd technical foul.

Towson returns to action on Wednesday night at Hofstra.

8:43 pm –

Towson cut an Old Dominion lead from 14 to 3 with 7 minutes left in the game, but the Monarchs have responded in the last four minutes and now lead once again by 10 points.

Four ODU players are in double figures, led by Gerald Lee with 17.

Robert Nwankwo leads Towson with 16.

8:30 pm –

A wild last few minutes at the Towson Center has seen Towson coach Pat Kennedy ejected from the game and the Old Dominion Monarchs have pulled out to a 14 point lead (69-55) with 7:33 to play in the game.

Kennedy received a technical foul with 10 minutes left to play and then was thrown out roughly a minute later while disputing his earlier technical.

Gerald Lee tops the ODU point parade with 15.

Robert Nwankwo still paces the Tigers with 12 points.

8:19 pm –

The Old Dominion lead is back up to 8 points at the Towson Center, as the Tigers have been outscored 9-4 in the last three minutes of play.

Ben Finney’s 3-pointer just moments ago sparked the ODU run.

Freshman Isaiah Philmore has 9 points for Tigers.

8:10 pm –

Towson’s Robert Nwankwo has pushed the Tigers right back into this one, with 8 points in the early stages of the second half (12 for the game) and the Old Dominion lead is now just 45-42 with 15:28 left in the game.

Gerald Lee has 12 points for ODU, but he just picked up his second foul of the game moments ago.

The Monarchs still hold a whopping rebound edge, 30-16.

Towson’s back in the game, though, after trailing by 7 at the half.

7:45 pm –

What a weird first half.

Old Dominion must be kicking themselves.  They have a 7 point lead at Towson and it should be 15.

Towson trails by 7 and they could be tied or ahead.

Neither team shot the ball well in the final 8 minutes of the half.  Gerald Lee has 9 points to lead all scorers but he’s missed several easy shots under the basket.  The rebounding difference is the key tonight.  ODU has 26 boards…Towson with only 10.

If either team would have put the ball in the hole in the last eight minutes, this game would look totally different.

Josh Thornton leads the Towson offense with 7 points, but he’s been silent since hitting a pair of three pointers early in the game.

7:36 pm –

Old Dominion still has a 9-p0int lead at Towson, 32-23, with 3:42 remaining in the first half.

Both teams have gone cold from the floor, with only five points scored in the last four and a half minutes.

Gerald Lee leads the Monarchs with 7 points.

7:29 pm –

Balanced scoring from Old Dominion has the Monarchs out to a 29-20 first half lead at the Towson Center.  Frank Hassell, Gerald Lee and Darius James all have six points for ODU, while Josh Thornton continues to lead Towson with six.

The most glaring stat of the night?  ODU has 15 rebounds to Towson’s 4.

7:13 to play in the first half.  ODU 29 – Towson 20

7:20 pm –

Old Dominion stretches their lead to 21-12 here at the Towson Center, as the Tigers have surrendered 12 points in the paint thus far.

Ben Finney (5 pts) leads ODU, with Gerald Lee and Darius James both chipping in four points.

Josh Thornton leads Towson and all scorers with 6 points.

Former Washington Bullets draft pick and ex-Delaware head coach David Henderson is sitting next to me on press row.  He’s here tonight scouting the game for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

7:12 pm –

Old Dominion hops out to a 9-4 lead, thanks to five early points from Ben Finney and some missed opportunities from Towson’s Calvin Lee.

All CAA forward Gerald Lee has a bucket early on for the Monarchs.

Preview:

These chances come along about five or six times a year for the Towson Tigers.

One of the CAA’s elite teams come calling and it once again presents Pat Kennedy with an opportunity for his team to show the progress they’ve made in one of the country’s toughest mid-major conferences.

Tonight at the Towson Center, Old Dominion comes to town, stocked with talent and boasting perhaps the league’s most dominant player in Gerald Lee.

ODU (9-5, 1-1 CAA) already owns an impressive road win over Georgetown this year, but their record is top-heavy with home victories (7).  Still, they’re considered by many to be one of the teams with a legitimate shot at winning the CAA crown in 2009-2010.

And that’s why tonight’s game is critical for the Tigers.  Towson (3-8) hasn’t had a real marquee win in this building in a long time.  And, more often than not, the CAA’s big boys have hung double digit losses on Pat’s Cats here at the Towson Center.

The biggest challenge tonight will be contending with Lee.  At 6’10″, 250 lbs, he’s one of the league’s biggest players and is equally adept at both ends of the floor.  The task of keeping him under wraps tonight will fall on junior Robert Nwankwo, who is currently 12th in the NCAA in rebounding with 11.3 per-game.

And scoring the ball will be crucial for Towson, as Old Dominion is a stingy defensive unit.  Who runs the point for the Tigers tonight?  Do they go with the sure thing and give the ball to Brian Morris?  He’s not turnover prone, but the offense seems to mirror his pace at times.  Or does Kennedy turn the team over to sophomore guard Troy Franklin?  Franklin’s much dangerous in penetration than Morris, but he’ll give the ball away more than Kennedy and his coaches would like.  On the flip side, the team seems to have more energy with Franklin on the floor and in control.

Drew’s not the coach — but if I were coaching, Franklin would run the team for me.

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