College hoops: Towson wins opener over Miami of Ohio, 82-71

November 13, 2009 | Drew Forrester

Recap:  

In his 6 years at Towson University, Pat Kennedy has seen his Tigers face a number of quality non-conference opponents but Towson has always come out on the bad end of things.

Not anymore.

The Tigers got 25 points from Calvin Lee and turned a 5-point halftime deficit into a 2nd half lead almost right from the outset of the final 20 minutes and Towson went on to beat Miami of Ohio (MAC), 82-71 before a raucous crowd of 3,259 at the Towson Center on Friday night.

“We shot the ball great in the second half and defended much better than we did in the first half,” said Kennedy afterwards. “Calvin obviously had a big night for us and I thought we got great use from our bench throughout the game.  Miami is extremely well coached and it was a joy to see us play that way in front of a big home crowd.”

Indeed, the crowd of 3,259 was one of the best of the Kennedy era, with the entire south side of the facility filled up early in the game.  The overflow crowd moved over to the north side and many Towson basketball followers commented throughout the night that this was the largest student-body attendance of this decade. 

Although Miami of Ohio’s size won out on the boards (34 rebounds to 24 for Towson), Towson’s speed was the deciding factor as the Tigers outran, outhustled and outdefended the RedHawks in the final 20 minutes. 

Towson got a fine second half performance from Troy Franklin (Mt. Carmel), who controlled the offense in the final 20 minutes after Brian Morris started the game at point guard.  Franklin had 9 points and put up 5 of them in a :35 span midway through the second half that helped put Towson up by double digits. 

Freshman Isaiah Philmore (John Carroll) made his Towson debut and had 4 points in the game. 

The Tigers next play on Saturday, November 21 at home against Buffalo.

 

9:05 pm –

Calvin Lee paced the Tigers with 25 points and Troy Franklin contributed 9 second half points and sound ball control as Towson won their season opener over Miami of Ohio, 82-71 tonight at the Towson Center in front of 3,259.  

Back with more in a few minutes. 

 

8:52 pm –

Towson appears headed to a season-opening win over Miami of Ohio, as the Tigers lead 74-64 with 4:15 to play in the game.  

The Tigers have really stepped up defensively in the last five minutes.  Calvin Lee has been the best player on the floor with 23 points and 3 rebounds.  

 

 

8:44 pm –

Calvin Lee’s 23 points and an excellent half from sophomore guard Troy Franklin have the Tigers on the verge of a big win at the Towson Center.  It’s 65-58 in favor of Towson with 8:00 to play in the game.  

This would be a great way to start the 2009-2010 season for Towson.  Miami of Ohio is a quality opponent from the MAC. They’d be competitive in the CAA for sure. 

 

8:35 pm –

Towson has pulled ahead 61-53 over Miami of Ohio for its biggest lead of the game.  The Tigers second half surge has been led in great part by guard Troy Franklin (9 points), who just completed a 5-point run with a 2-pointer, a foul shot and a steal for a lay-up…all within 35 seconds.  

It looks like the upset at UMBC isn’t going to happen after all, as the #18 ranked Virginia Cavaliers have pulled away to a 56-48 lead over the Lady Retrievers with 5:19 to play in the game. 

 

8:24 pm –

What an opener at the Towson Center!  Before a crowd of (probably) 3,500 or so, the Tigers and Miami of Ohio are locked in a barnburner, with Towson up 54-51 with 14:00 to play in the game. 

Calvin Lee is a monster tonight for Pat Cat’s, leading all scorers with 21 points including two thunderous dunks within the last few minutes. 

Meanwhile, 20 miles away at UMBC, the Retrievers women’s team hangs tough with #18 Virginia.  It’s 47-47 with less than 10 minutes to go in the game. 

 

8:13 pm – 

Towson still trails in this one, but the Tigers are getting a spirited effort from Calvin Lee (15 points) and Josh Thornton (8)…Miami of Ohio leads, 48-44 with 15:40 to play in the game. 

Kenny Hayes leads the RedHawks with 12 points. 

Across town at the RAC Arena, there’s a MAJOR women’s upset brewing as Phil Sterns’ Retrievers are leading Virginia (ranked 18th in the country), 44-42 with 12 minutes to go in the game.  Michelle Kurowski has 21 points for UMBC.  This would be one of the biggest wins in UMBC women’s hoops history if they can hold on. 

 

8:05 pm –

Elsewhere tonight, Loyola leads Vermont at Reitz Arena, 44-36 at the half.  Brett Harvey leads the ‘Hounds with 15 points. 2-time America East Player of Year Marqus Blakely has 11 to lead the Catamounts.  I sent Chris Bonetti a text before the game and predicted a 10-point Vermont win.  Oops.

In Albany, NY, Albany leads Morgan State, 33-32 at the half.

The teams have returned to the floor at the Towson Center and we’ll have second half action in just a few minutes.

 

7:50 pm –

Calvin Lee of Towson leads all scorers with 13 points but the Miami of Ohio RedHawks went on a late 10-4 run in the first half to lead 42-37 at the half. 

7 of the 8 RedHawks who have played tonight have scored, a testament to their balanced attack.

David Brewster and Josh Thornton both have 5 points for the Tigers, who led 33-32 with 3:33 to play in the first half before Miami scored 10 of the last 14 points to lead.

 

7:42 pm –

This is setting up to be a whale of a college basketball game at Towson tonight.  The Tigers have moved ahead for the first time, 33-32, after a David Brewster 3-pointer just moments ago.

Forward Robert Nwankwo picked up his 3rd foul with 5:00 to play in the half and was immediately pulled by Pat Kennedy.  I can’t imagine we’ll see him again in the first half.

Towson has done a nice job of quickening the pace and taking advantage of their better team speed.  Miami of Ohio has the size advantage, but the Tigers are moving the ball up court quickly to try and off-set the RedHawks ball control style. 

The story of the night, though, is the crowd here at the Towson Center.  I’ve seen about 60 home games of the Pat Kennedy era and I can say without question tonight’s attendance and atmosphere is among the best I’ve seen over the last six years.  The entire south side of the building is now filled up and they’re sending students and late ticket purchasers over to the north side and that’s about 3/4 full at this point. 

 

7:31 pm –

This is one of the best crowds I’ve seen at the Towson Center during the Pat Kennedy era (6 years now).  The entire south side of the building is filled and fans/students are still coming in.  

Miami of Ohio’s balanced scoring attack has paced them to a 27-23 lead with 7:33 to go in the first half.  The tempo has picked up in the last 5 minutes — which favors Towson, I’d say.  

Calvin Lee is the game’s leading scorer with 10 points for the Tigers.  

Miami’s height advantange hasn’t helped much on the boards.  They’re outrebounding Towson only by 9-8 thus far.

 

7:22 pm – 

Towson played its best basketball of the night over the last 3 minutes, trimming the RedHawks lead to 23-17.  Calvin Lee leads the Tigers with 10 points.  Freshman Isaiah Philmore (John Carroll) entered the game with 12 minutes to play in the first half to make his CAA/Towson debut.  Pat Kennedy has Troy Franklin and Josh Brown on the floor now, going with a quicker lineup to try and diffuse the bigger, stronger Miami of Ohio front court. 

 

7:18 pm –

Miami goes on a 10-0 run to lead 18-8.  Troy Franklin entered the game for Brian Morris and committed a foul under the basket about 12 seconds after he stepped on the floor.  The glare from Pat Kennedy was telling.  

 

7:15 pm –

Miami of Ohio using their size early on to take an 8-5 lead.  Calvin Lee has 3 points to pace the Tigers. 

 

6:55 pm –

Just about ready to tip off at the Towson Center.  Nice crowd on hand.  Excellent student body turnout, something Athletic Director Mike Hermann has been working on for quite a while. 

For the record, according to an on-line gambling service I just happened to stumble upon, Miami of Ohio is a 1.5 point favorite tonight here in Baltimore.  

Interesting.

Hofstra, expected to contend for the CAA title in ’09-10, find themselves 26.5 point underdogs at Kansas tonight. 

And there’s a good “Battle of Philadelphia” opener tonight up in Philthy, where Drexel and St. Joseph’s get it on.  ”The Joe” is a 5.5 point favorite in that one. 

Tip off coming up.  I’ll be back with occasional updates.

 

6:35 pm –

First impressions upon entering the Towson Center tonight.

  • Miami of Ohio out-sizes Towson by a lot.  You can only play five guys at a time, obviously, so not all of these big dudes can find the floor together, but the Red Hawks have the size edge.
  • Braxton Dupree looks like he’s lost considerable weight since playing for Maryland last year.  He’s not eligible to play for Towson until next season, but he’s hanging around the bench area and to my eye he looks much more fit.  
  • Sophomore guard Troy Franklin is evidently not starting tonight.  He ran the point most of last season, but it appears as if Brian Morris will handle the ball for the Tigers and Josh Thornton will play the other guard spot to start things off. 
  • Win or lose, this will give Pat Kennedy a great indication of where his team stands.  Miami is a quality opponent.

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