College hoops: Towson puts up a fight with George Mason but loses 80-71

January 23, 2010 | Drew Forrester

Recap —

It’s still a loss.

And they just keep piling up for the Towson Tigers…but Saturday’s 80-71 loss at home to George Mason represented the Tigers’ best effort against a quality opponent since a late November loss at Dayton.

Towson trailed throughout the second half before going on an 8-0 run late in the game and forging ahead, 66-65, with 3 minutes to play on a three-pointer from RaShawn Polk.  Moments later, though, Cam Long canned a 3-pointer that put the Patriots ahead to stay and they hit several big shots in the final two minutes to pull away.

Down the stretch, the difference in the two teams was apparent.  Under the gun, the Patriots hit their last three shots from the field and 3 of 4 foul shots.  Towson, after Polk’s shot with 3 minutes to go, only hit more bucket from the field.

Towson’s Jarrel Smith led all scorers with 23 points, while Calvin Lee chipped in 15 and Polk finished with 14.  The Tigers started the game with only 8 available players after center Robert Nwankwo was ruled out due to a shoulder injury prior to the game.  Brian Morris (ankle sprain) and Troy Franklin (leave of absence) were both unavailable today.

For George Mason, Cam Long was very impressive, scoring 21 points and pulling down 6 rebounds.  The Patriots best player in the second half was Mike Morrison, who had 13 points and 12 rebounds on the day, with 11 of his 13 points coming in the final 20 minutes.

George Mason has now won 16 straight games against the Tigers.

Towson falls to 4-15 on the year and is now 1-8 in CAA play.  Mason is 13-7 overall and 8-1 in the CAA.

The Tigers now hit the road for two straight; Wednesday night at Virginia Commonwealth and Saturday night at UNC-Wilmington.

5:50 pm —

George Mason got a scare today at the Towson Center, that’s for sure.  It’s not over yet, but it would take a minor miracle for the Patriots to lose this one, as they now lead 76-71 with 32.1 to play.

Jarrel Smith has had a monster second half, with 15 points for the Tigers.  He leads the team with 22 points overall.

5:45 pm —

I’ve been saying this all afternoon…”Towson’s not going away”.

And they’re in this one.  In fact, just moments ago, the Tigers went ahead 66-65, but Mason countered with a 3-pointer to go back ahead, 68-66.

This is certainly the most spirited effort that Towson has given in the last month or so.

Jarrel Smith (20), Rashawn Polk (14) and Calvin Lee (13) have paced a productive Tigers offense in the last 12 minutes or so.

Cam Long leads the Patriots with 18.

5:31 pm —

George Mason continues to lead here, but Towson’s not going away.

With 7:40 to play, Mason leads, 62-53, but this is by far the best effort of January for the Tigers.

And they’re doing it without Robert Nwankwo.

There’s a good, lively crowd on hand here today at the Towson Center, boosted by a couple of hundred George Mason fans who made the trip north from Fairfax.

5:23 pm —

Don’t let the 7-point George Mason lead fool you.

This is a good basketball game — and the Tigers are still in it for sure.

The Tigers, in fact, just trimmed the Mason lead to two at 48-46 before GMU hit two straight baskets to move back ahead by seven.

Cam Long leads the Patriots with 15 points while Jarrel Smith of Towson leads all scorers with 16.

5:10 pm —

Second half underway at the Towson Center, with George Mason still holding a 6-point lead.

Isaiah Philmore has 3 fouls for the Tigers and Calvin Lee has 2.

With only eight healthy players today, Towson can ill afford anyone fouling out of the game.

5:05 pm —

If only for a half, Towson can count this one as a moral victory thus far.

The Tigers trail George Mason at the half, 35-29.

Without Robert Nwankwo, the Tigers have still managed to hang in there, as George Mason’s biggest lead of the half was just 7 points.

Cam Long (12) and Sherrod Wright (7) lead the Patriots in scoring.

Jarrel Smith has 8 points to pace the Tigers, who are 1-7 in CAA play coming into this afternoon’s game.

4:40 pm —

George Mason continues to lead this at the Towson Center, 24-18, but the Tigers are putting up a spirited effort thus far.

Cam Long leads GMU with 8 points and Sherrod Wright has 7, but it’s Towson’s rebounding ability that has kept this one close so far.  George Mason leads the board count, 24-20, but the Tigers are fighting for every loose ball under the basket.

4:29 pm —

Cam Long still leads all scorers with 8 points and the Patriots maintain a 22-16 lead over Towson with 7:42 left in the first half.

Calvin Lee just picked up his 2nd foul of the game but with only eight healthy Tigers today, there’s not much room for sitting anyone, foul trouble or not.  Lee has 7 points thus far to pace the Tigers.

Josh Thornton has a pair of 3-pointers for six points overall for Towson.

4:20 pm —

George Mason is out to an early 14-8 lead at the Towson Center, thanks to an early 8-point effort from Cam Long.

Calvin Lee has 5 points thus far for the Tigers, who are going to need a supreme effort from Lee today with Robert Nwankwo out due to a shoulder injury.

4:05 pm —

They’re underway at the Towson Center where the Tigers (1-7 in CAA) take on George Mason (7-1).

The Patriots have a 15-game winning streak intact over Towson and are one of the surprise teams in the CAA this season given their lack of experience — George Mason has just one senior on their roster.

Today’s game is going to be especially tough for the Tigers because their best player, junior center Robert Nwankwo, is out of action with a shoulder injury.  Sophomore point guard Troy Franklin remains out of the lineup due to “personal issues” and junior guard Brian Morris is out with an ankle sprain.  That leaves the Tigers with just eight healthy players for today’s game.