Franklin, Nwankwo spark Towson past UMBC, 82-77

December 02, 2009 | Drew Forrester

Recap —

Leading by three points with 13.4 seconds to play, sophomore guard Troy Franklin missed a foul shot that gave UMBC a chance to tie the game for the first time since they started at 0-0.

Franklin more than made up for his miss at the foul line, stripping the ball from UMBC’s Chris De La Rosa at midcourt and throwing a pass to Robert Nwankwo who stuffed it home to give the Tigers an 82-77 win at the Towson Center.

Josh Thornton had 17 first half points for the Tigers and finished with a game-high 23 for the Tigers, but the second half belonged to Nwankwo (17 points, 14 rebounds on the game) and Franklin (10 assists) who nearly single-handedly controlled the final 10 minutes of the game for Towson (2-3 overall).

The story of the night for UMBC was the emergence of freshman guard Shawn Grant, who poured in a game-high 28 points on a 10-for-14 shooting performance.

Chauncey Gilliam had 13 points for the Retrievers, now 0-6 on the year.

The game featured an off-court incident midway through the second half in which Gilliam’s father was removed from the building after an altercation with a Towson fan behind the UMBC bench.

The Towson Center was certainly alive tonight, as this crosstown rivalry brought out a large number of Towson students.

Towson returns to action on Saturday at 4pm, hosting Hofstra in the CAA opener.

UMBC travels to Toledo on Saturday at 2pm.

8:45 pm —

The Tigers have fought off a furious UMBC rally and now lead, 75-70, with four minutes left in the game.

Troy Franklin, with three great assists in the last five minutes, has sparked the Tigers offense since taking over for Brian Morris.

UMBC twice cut Towson’s lead to four points before Franklin fed Robert Nwankwo for a dunk to put the Tigers back up by eight points.

Shawn Grant, a freshman guard from San Jose, CA, has 23 points for the Retrievers.

8:35 pm —

It’s been an interesting last few minutes at the Towson Center.

The Tigers remain in control, leading UMBC, 66-59, with 7 minutes to play.

Josh Thornton leads Towson with 23 points.

Off the court, an altercation behind the UMBC led to the father of Retrievers’ guard being removed from the building, along with what appeared to be a Towson University student.

That incident led Gilliam – on the court at the time – to be removed from the game by Randy Monroe and Monroe then chastised Gilliam for evidently paying attention to the behind the bench incident involving his father.

It was a strange scene, indeed.

8:20 pm —

Shawn Grant’s 3-pointer and some good defensive work from seldom used Jake Wasco has put UMBC back in this at the Towson Center.

The Tigers lead by six points (55-49) with 12 minutes remaining.

Josh Thornton (20 points) continues to lead Towson in scoring.

Grant (14) paces UMBC.

8:10 pm —

The Towson Tigers are back on top by a dozen, leading UMBC, 51-39, with 17:40 left in the game.

Josh Thornton just hit his 6th 3-pointer of the game and a dunk from Calvin Lee forced UMBC coach Randy Monroe to call a time-out.

UMBC’s only bucket of the second half came from Chauncey Gilliam.

7:50 pm —

All the sudden it’s a game at the Towson Center, as the Tigers – once up by 15 in the first half – now lead UMBC by 7 at the intermission, 44-37.

There’s a very spirited, strong crowd here tonight.  I’d assume it’s somewhere in the 2,500 range, maybe even a couple of hundred more.  It’s such a big night with the crosstown rivalry and all that even Steve Melewski showed up.  He just chided me about making a rare appearance here, saying, “So now you don’t have to say I don’t cover local basketball anymore.”  My response:  “When you put the directions to the Towson Center in your car’s GPS system, your GPS said, “What?  You’re going to a Towson basketball game?”

Josh Thornton (17 points) was 5-for-7 from the 3-point arc in the first half.  RaShawn Polk, playing his first home game, is the only other Tiger in double figures with 10 points.

Shawn Grant (9 points), Robbie Jackson (7) and Adrian Satchell (7) lead the Retrievers in scoring.

This one is far from over.

7:45 pm —

Behind a 9-point effort from Shawn Grant and a cooled off Towson offense, the UMBC Retrievers have climbed back into the game at Towson, trailing the Tigers, 41-34, with 1:14 left in the first half.

The Tigers are still led by Josh Thornton (17 points) but he’s now on the bench with 3 fouls.

7:30 pm —

Towson leads UMBC, 39-25 with 6:41 remaining in the first half.

The hot hand still belongs to Josh Thornton, who has 17 first half points including 5-of-6 from the 3-point arc.

Adrian Satchell and Shawn Grant both have 7 points to lead UMBC.

There’s not much UMBC can do until Towson cools off from the floor.  The Tigers are shooting 64% from the floor and 70% from 3-point range.

7:20 pm —

It’s the Josh Thornton Show so far at the Towson Center, as the senior guard has 11 points in the first 7:38 of the game to pace Towson to a 22-11 lead over UMBC.

Adrian Satchell leads the Retrievers with 5 points.

7:15 pm —

Towson jumps out to a 10-3 lead at the 4 minute mark of the first half thanks in part to eight points from Josh Thornton, including a pair of 3-pointers within a 20-second span.

It’s been a sloppy opening few minutes.

6:55 pm —

Live from the Towson Center, another “Battle of Baltimore” tonight as Towson takes on UMBC in men’s basketball.

Both teams are in dire need of a win tonight.

Towson squandered an 18-point lead on Saturday at Dayton, losing 74-69.  They enter tonight’s game at 1-3.

UMBC hasn’t yet won this season, sitting at 0-5 after losing at home to Coppin State last Tuesday night and then falling by two points at James Madison last Saturday.