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Towson looks for 2-0 start Tuesday against Morgan State

Posted on 11 November 2013 by WNST Staff

TOWSON HOSTS LOCAL RIVAL MORGAN STATE ON TUESDAY
Tigers look to start the season off at 2-0 for the first time since 2006

TOWSON, Md. - The Towson men’s basketball team will look to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2006 as the Tigers welcome Morgan State to SECU Arena on Tuesday for a7:30 p.m. tip.

Audio and video of the game will be available via the Towson Sports Network (TSN) with Spiro Morekas and Vince Angotti on the call.

The Tigers are coming off an impressive 72-45 season and home opening win against Navy last Friday.

Senior Rafriel Guthrie tallied a game-high 16 points off the bench as the Tigers cruised to an easy win in the inaugural game inside SECU Arena.

Senior Jerrelle Benimon grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds and the Tigers held Navy to just 31.1 percent shooting from the field. The 27-point margin of victory was the largest ever for Towson over a Division I school in a home opener.

Morgan State, who fell at Ohio State in its season opener on Saturday, went 17-15 last season. The Bears welcome back their leading scorer and rebounder from a year ago. Senior guard Justin Black led the Bears with 14.2 points per game last season and senior guard/forward Anthony Hubbard led the team with 6.5 rebounds per game.

Morgan State leads the all-time series against Towson, 13-11. The Bears have also won the last two meetings and three of the last four matchups between the squads. However, the Tigers are 9-3 all-time at home against Morgan State.

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Morgan looks for first win Tuesday night at Towson

Posted on 11 November 2013 by WNST Staff

Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013
Opponent: Towson Tigers (1-0)
Site: SECU Arena, Towson, Maryland
Game Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET)
MSU Coach: Todd Bozeman (128-101 – 8th yr)
Websites: www.MorganStateBears.com / www.TowsonTigers.com

BALTIMORE, Md. —  Morgan State continues the 2013-14 campaign on the road against the Towson Tigers. It will mark the 25th basketball meeting between the teams. The Bears have won 3 of the last 4 meetings. Tip-off at SECU Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

SCOUTING THE TIGERS
The Buckeyes welcomed back eight veterans, including four starters, from a squad that posted a 18-13 overall record, finished T-2nd in the CAA with a 13-5 ledger. Reigning CAA Player of the Year Jerrelle Benimon (17.1 ppg) along with Marcus Damas (11.4 ppg) return as the Tigers leading scorers. Pat Skerry (Tufts, ’92) enters his third season as the Tigers’ head men’s basketball coach where he currently holds a 20-44 record. Senior Mike Burwell scored 13 points and had eight rebounds and three assists to lead Towson to a 72-45 rout of Navy in a season opener last Friday night. Other top Towson scorers included Rafriel Guthrie who scored 16 points from the bench and Four McGlynn who hit 5-of-7 three-pointers for a total of 15 points. Jerrelle Benimon led the Tigers with 17 rebounds.

LAST TIME VS THE TIGERS
December 22, 2009 — Morgan State overcame an early 13-point deficit and withstood a late charge knockoff Towson 87-80 at Hill Field House. Sophomore Kevin Thompson had a stellar performance for the Bears and finished with career-highs of 23 points and 25 rebounds, who improved its record to 7-4 overall and 27-5 at home under coach Todd Bozeman. Reggie Holmes, who entered the night ranked second in the nation in scoring (25.1 ppg), finished with 20 after scoring just four in the first half. Down by double-digits, the Tigers rallied late, getting to within two when Troy Franklin stripped Danny Smith near midcourt and converted at the other end with 55 seconds left. But the Bears then closed it out when Thompson grabbed a strong rebound to start a fast break, which ended with Jackson’s dunk and three-point play.

BEARS SET FOR PARADISE JAM
Morgan State will face La Salle in the first round of the 2013 Ezybonds Global Payments U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam. The Paradise Jam will take place Nov. 22-25, with the games set to be televised by CBS Sports Network.The first game of the event pits Northern Iowa vs. Loyola Marymount at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, with Maryland and Marist following at approximately 5 p.m. The evening session includes Providence vs. Vanderbilt and Morgan State vs. La Salle.The losing teams in the first round will move to the consolation bracket and play on Saturday, Nov. 23, while the winners will play on Sunday, Nov. 24. The championship game is scheduled for 10 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 25.

MORGAN STATE TABBED SECOND IN PRESEASON POLL
Morgan State was picked to finish second in the 2013-14 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men’s basketball preseason poll behind defending regular season champion Norfolk State.

BLACK, CHILES AND HUBBARD EARN PRESEASON HONORS
Morgan State senior Justin Black was selected to the Preseason All-MEAC First Team by the conference head coaches and sports information directors. Redshirt-senior center Ian Chiles was selected to the Second Team and Anthony Hubbard to the Third Team.

BOZEMAN LOOKS FOR ANOTHER 20-WIN SEASON
For three of the last seven seasons, all as head coach, Todd Bozeman has guided teams to at least 20 victories. Bozeman set the Morgan State record for consecutive 20-win campaigns in 2007-08 with a 22-11 record and extended it with a 23-12 campaign in 2008-09, followed by a Division I school record 27-11 record in 2009-10. The previous record was back-to-back 20-win seasons under coach Nathaniel Frazier when he guided the Bears to a 20-8 record in 1972-73, followed by 28-5 in 1973-74.

ROAD WARRIORS
This season’s schedule will send MSU on the road for 14 games, including a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam. The Bears finished 8-9 on the road last season, including a 3-6 mark against non-conference opponents.

UP NEXT
The Bears will host the University of San Diego at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14 at Hill Field House.

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Towson opens SECU Arena with blowout win over Navy

Posted on 08 November 2013 by WNST Staff

TIGERS CHRISTEN SECU ARENA WITH 72-45 ROUT OF NAVY
Towson opens new arena in front of eight-largest crowd in program history

TOWSON, Md. 
 – The Towson men’s basketball team christened SECU Arena in grand fashion on Friday evening as the Tigers cruised past the Naval Academy, 72-45, in front of 4,262 fans.

The 27-point margin of victory is the largest ever for Towson over a Division I school in a home opener and largest against any program in an opener since a 104-67 win over Frostburg State in 1984.

The attendance was the second highest ever for the Tigers in a home opener (5,086 vs. Michigan in 1997) and eighth largest home crowd in program history.

Senior Rafriel Guthrie paced four Tigers in double figures with a game-high 16 points on 5-for-6 shooting off the bench. He was joined in double figures by sophomore Four McGlynn (15) and seniors Mike Burwell (13) and Marcus Damas (10). |

All of McGlynn’s field goal attempts came from beyond the arc as the guard hit of five of his seven attempts. Burwell shot 6-for-11 from the field and also added eight rebounds to his stat line.

Preseason Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year Jerrelle Benimon struggled from the field, netting just six points on 1-for-8 shooting, but the leading returning rebounder in the nation hauled in a game-high 17 boards and led the Tigers in assists (4) and blocked shots (3).

Towson (1-0) shot 58.3 percent in the first half and 47.2 percent for the game. The Tigers, who led by as many as 31 points in the second half, had 13 players see game action and eight different players scored. Towson held a dominant 35-16 advantage in bench scoring.

The historic first points in SECU Arena history came as Damas converted a layup just 15 seconds into the contest. McGlynn, who went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc in the first half, made consecutive triples to give the Tigers a 29-15 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the first half. Towson then closed the period on a 10-4 run to take a 39-23 lead into the break.

The Tigers scored the first five points of the second half as their lead ballooned to 21 points and Navy never threatened the rest of the way.

Sophomore Kendall Knorr led Navy (0-1) with nine points and six rebounds. The Midshipmen saw 10 different players score, but shot just 19-for-61 (31.1 percent) from the field in the loss.

Towson will continue its three-game homestand with a matchup against Morgan State next week. The Tigers will welcome the Bears to SECU Arena for a 7:30 p.m. tip on Tuesday.

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Towson opens SECU Arena Friday night against Navy

Posted on 07 November 2013 by WNST Staff

TOWSON, Md. - The Towson men’s basketball team will open the 2013-14 season and christen SECU Arena on Friday night as the Tigers host Navy at 7:30 p.m.

The grand opening of the new arena will feature a basketball doubleheader as the Towson and Navy women’s teams will battle at 5 p.m.

Audio and video for the men’s game will be available via the Towson Sports Network (TSN) with Spiro Morekas and Vince Angotti on the call.

Towson, the Preseason Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) favorite, is coming off a record-setting season in which the Tigers set the largest single season turnaround in NCAA history by going 18-13 just a year after posting a 1-31 record.

The 18 wins for Towson were the program’s most since 1993-94 and the Tigers recorded their highest win total (13) and finish (second) since joining the CAA.

The Tigers return four of five starters and 85 percent of their scoring from last year’s team. Senior Jerrelle Benimon leads a quartet of seniors who return for Towson. Benimon, who was recognized as an Honorable Mention Associated Press All-American and as the CAA Player of the Year in 2012-13, is the nation’s leading returning rebounder.

Towson also welcomes back seniors Marcus Damas(11.4 ppg/5.3 rpg), Mike Burwell (9.0 ppg/3.2 rpg) and Rafriel Guthrie (8.1 ppg/2.6 rpg). A trio of sophomores also return for the Tigers in 2013 CAA All-Rookie Team selection Jerome Hairston (9.9 ppg/2.0 rpg), Vermont-transfer Four McGlynn (2012 America East Rookie of the Year) and Timajh Parker-Rivera (2.8 ppg/3.1 rpg).

Navy is under the leadership of third-year head coach Ed DeChellis. The Midshipmen return all five starters from a team that posted an 8-23 record last season. Junior forward Worth Smith is Navy’s leading returning scorer (10.2 ppg) and rebounder (5.4 rpg).

Towson leads the all-time series against Navy, 7-4. However, the Midshipmen have won the last two meetings. The Tigers have won two of the last three meetings against the squads at Towson.

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SECU Arena

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Towson Basketball Begins Season With Lofty Expectations

Posted on 06 November 2013 by Robert Canady

Prior to  one of the final practices before the start of the 2013-14 season, Towson basketball Head Coach Pat Skerry, stood at midcouort smiling and greeting his players as they came out to warm-up.  Skerry gave many of them a fist bump or pat on the back.   There is just cause for Skerry to be smiling as he looked over this group of players.  For the firt time ever Towson had recently been ranked No. 1 in the CAA Coaches/Media Preseason poll.   “Well, be careful what you ask for,” Skerry said recently.  When asked how he will  prepares the team to reach the high expectations of this season, Skerry continues, “It’s about honoring the process. Continuing to do the daily things, that you need to do as a team.”  Back to practice a few minutes after the start,  during a five on five full court scrimmage, Skerry was backing up those words, as he called out players for not being in position defensively, or not running the proper offensive set.    There will be no resting on last seasons accomplishments.  “We’ll get everyone’s best shot each night.  We’ve gone from being the hunter to being the hunted,” added Skerry.

It’s been well documented everything that the Tigers achieved last season.  The team finished tied for 2nd in the CAA with a 13-5 conference record.  An overall record of 18-13 enabled Towson to set the NCAA record for the largest one season turnaround of 17.5 games. This followed the 1-31 campaign in coach Pat Skerry’s first season.   A record that unfortunately will follow him on his coaching resume, however for all intents and purposes should be accredited to the previous coaching staff.

Towson returns four starters from last year’s team-including CAA Player of the Year, Senior Jerrelle Benimon, who was recently voted Pre Season Player of The Year by the CAA coaches and media.   Benimon comes off an impressive season that saw him finish second in the nation in double/doubles while accumulating 17.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.  If that wasn’t impressive enough Skerry says Benimon is even better this year than last, “He’s got more range on his shot, he has really improved his 3 point shot. We also plan to use him at back-up point guard as well.”  When a reporter chided Skerry for not being serious, he said he absolutely was, “We’ve got to get Jerome (Hairston) some help there, and Jerrelle handled the ball a lot for us last year.  Don’t get me wrong, he still has to rebound.  That has to be first,” Skerry said with a smile.  As if all that wasn’t worry enough for Tiger opponents, Benimon is visibly bigger and appears stronger than last year.

Jerrelle Benimon scoring 2 of his career high 30 points against Temple

While Benimon is expected to lead the team in scoring again, there are plenty of other Tigers who are capable of carrying the team on any given night.   Senior Marcus Damas is coming off a season in which he scored 11.5 points per game, Damas also averaged double figures as a Sophomore in the 1-31 season, scoring 12.5 per night.   Damas is capable of hitting threes, as well as driving to the basket and finishing strong.  He is one of the strongest Tigers in finishing on a fast break.

Senior shooting guard Mike Burwell finished just shy of averaging double figures last year ringing up 9.0 points per game.  Burwell led the Tigers with 47 three-pointers in 2012-13  He was considered the Tigers biggest threat from long range, and should improve on his percentage this year. Experiences in a big time conference were two elements that both Burwell and Benimon brought to the Tigers.  Transferring from South Florida and Georgetown respectively the duo provided the Tigers with players who were not intimated playing against top level Division I players.

Skerry mentioned needing to get point guard Jerome Hairstonsome help and that wasn’t any reflection of his accomplishments or ability.  It’s just that too often last year he was the only viable option for bringing the ball up the court.  A big task to ask of a freshman who started 30 of 31 games last year. As point guard Hairston was third on the team in scoring tallying 9.9 points per night.  He struggled a bit early in the season with his assist to turnover ratio, but made strides in that area toward the end of the year.

Jerome Hairston scoring two in the upset win at Oregon St.

 

Sophomore Timajh Parker-Rivera is expected to fill the starting center spot vacated by Bilal Dixon who graduated after one year at Towson.  Dixon’s presence in the paint and his 7.3 rebounds per game will be a tough void to fill.   However, Rivera saw action in all 31 games and logged over 15 minutes per contests as a freshman.  Rivera showed a bit of what he might be capable of this summer when the Tigers took a trip to Canada and played four games against National Canadian teams that would be equal to college level teams in the US.  Rivera averaged 10.5 points and 10.7 rebounds in those four games.  Rivera worked hard during the summer in the Tigers conditioning program and has added weight and strength to go along with his tremendous athletic ability.  He certainly could be a player that catches opponents by surprise if they just look at his numbers from last year.

The Tigers will be much deeper this year than they were last year when they only had an eight man rotation.  Coming off the bench for the Tigers will be invaluable sixth man senior Rafriel Guthrie.  Guthrie averaged over 20 minutes per game last year playing in all 31 after transferring from College of Southern Idaho junior college.  Guthrie played high school basketball in Washington, DC averaging 28.8 points per game as senior at Cardozo H.S.  Guthrie exhibited this same scoring prowess in the Tigers final exhibition game by scoring 32 points against Mansfield last week.  Guthrie who is known for his fierce drives to the basket went to the foul line 18 times and converted 14 of them.   He could be one of the biggest beneficiaries on the team of the rule change in college that prohibits hand checking.  Guthrie is often called upon to up the Tiger’s defensive pressure when he comes into a game, and was second on the Tigers in steals with 26 to go along with his 8.1 points per game.

 

Depth in the back court will definitely be one of the Tiger’s strongest areas this year.  Sophomore transfer Four McGlynn will make his much anticipated debut after sitting out his year as a transfer.  Those that got to see McGlynn practice last year know he has seemingly unlimited range on his 3-point shot, and makes them with astonishing frequency.  McGlynn accumulated all kinds of accolades and impressive stats during his freshman year at Vermont, where he was named the America East Rookie of the Year.  McGlynn led the Catamounts in scoring, even though he came off the bench in all 36 of the tams games.  He was the only player in the nation to accomplish that feat.   His threat of hitting the 3 pointer when he’s in the game should, help ease some of attention Benimon will get on the inside.

Four other Tigers could very well end up getting regular playing time, meaning the Tigers could go as many as 10 deep on some nights.  Two players who were going to be counted on as Freshman last year 6’8” Forward Barrington Alston and 6’5” Guard Marquis Marshall ended up being redshirted.  They both return with another year of the weight and conditioning program under them, and will play as red shirt Freshman with four years of eligibility left.

The final returner is Junior Jamel Flash a 6’10” Forward/Center who Skerry says will definitely play this year as opposed to his first two years when he never averaged more than five minutes a game.  Flash has perhaps transformed himself more than any other Tiger in the weight room.  He will play this year at 220 lbs up over 30 pounds since his freshman year.

 

Success on the court usually leads to success off the court in other areas as well such as recruiting.   The higher level of player that Towson is able to recruit began last year with the incoming class of Hairston, Marshall and Alston.  In addition, the transfers of Benimon, Burwell, Guthrie and McGlynn all were an indication of the tireless efforts of Skerry and his assistants. Each one of those players took a leap of faith committing to Towson considering the past history, but Skerry sold them on what he had planned for this team.

The two true freshman on this year’s team, continue that high level recruit trend.  Johnny Davis at 6’5” 215 pound is an all Catholic League player from Philadelphia.  Skerry has said Davis will need to show some patience as he will be playing behind Benimon and Damas.  However once he gets on the court Davis makes the most of his minutes.  During the two exhibition games Davis totaled 15 points and 14 rebounds in 28 minutes of action.  Skerry said Davis has gone up against Benimon every day in practice and gives him all he can handle.  Joining Davis in adding depth to the Front Court is 6’8” 230 Forward/Center Walter Foster from Atlanta Georgia.  Both Davis and Foster will have to learn to play defense at the level Skerry expects in order to gain the playing time the Tigers will need from them.

The depth of this Tiger team could come in handy early in the year while teams are adjusting to the new hand check rule.  Towson did bring in actual officials to call some of the early practices in order to give an indication of what teams will see this year when the ball goes up for real.

One thing everyone in Baltimore and the CAA will see is a team that has completely transformed its identity from the one of the worst teams in the country, to a team that is predicted to win it’s league title and compete for a berth in the NCAA tournament in March.

Not taking anything away from Skerry or the players, but the biggest (literally and perhaps most important) addition this year won’t ever score a point or grab a rebound for the Tigers.  But the brand new SECU Arena will be the envy of every CAA team that visits this year.  The 5200 seat arena has hosted some exhibition games and other events over the summer, but will make its official Tiger debut on Friday night against Navy.  The arena is so spectacular that the referees who worked the Mansfield game commented to members of the media before the game, that the arena was unbelievable.   It’s equipped with every modern feature you’d expect to see in an arena, including a nearly 50 foot long scoreboard/video screen hung over center court.  Among the seating choices are 340 club seats, 104 courtside seats and 4 private boxes.

Below is the complete results of the CAA Pre-Season poll.   I’ll have an in-depth look at the new CAA prior to the conference season.   But the big changes this season are the departures of Old Dominion, Georgia State and George Mason.  The College of Charleston joins the league as the 9th team. They were the Southern Conference champions last year and won 24 games.

 

Coaches/Media 2013-14 Pre-Season CAA Poll

1-Towson

2-Drexel

3-College of Charleston

4-Delaware

5-William & Mary

6-Northeastern

7-James Madison

8-UNCW

9-Hofstra

-photos courtsey of Towson University-

 

 

 

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 05 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Loyola @ Maryland (Sunday 2pm Comcast Center); Auto Racing: NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup Advocare 500 (Sunday 3pm from Avondale, AZ live on ESPN); College Soccer: Stony Brook @ UMBC (Wednesday 7pm Retriever Soccer Park); High School Soccer: MPSSAA 4A Quarterfinal-Blake vs. Perry Hall(Tuesday 4pm Honeygo Park), State Semifinals (Saturday 12pm Richard Montgomery High School); Boxing: Rocky Martinez vs. Mikey Garcia (Saturday 9:30pm from Corpus Christi, TX live on HBO)

10. John Fogerty (Wednesday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Paramore/Metric/Hellogoodbye (Saturday 7:30pm Patriot Center), Lynyrd Skynyrd (Sunday 7:30pm Patriot Center); Taking Back Sunday (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head Live), Less Than Jake/Anti-Flag (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Live), Parachute/Plain White T’s (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live); The Wild Feathers (Sunday 8pm Ottobar); Streetlight Manifesto (Sunday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Living Colour (Sunday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Reel Big Fish (Wednesday 7:30pm Fillmore Silver Spring), New Found Glory/Alkaline Trio (Thursday 7:30pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Toad The Wet Sprocket (Thursday 6pm 9:30 Club), J. Roddy Walston & The Business (Thursday 10pm 9:30 Club); Grouplove/Saints of Valory (Friday 8pm Bender Arena); Mavis Staples (Friday 8pm Kay Theatre); Rebirth Brass Band (Friday & Saturday 8:30pm The Hamilton), Aaron Neville (Sunday 7:30pm The Hamilton); Eminem “The Marshall Mathers LP2″ and M.I.A. “Matangi” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

You know damn well I’ll be at The Lyric Wednesday night for Fogerty. Greatness is greatness, y’all.

I will also be at The Ottobar Sunday night to enjoy the Wild Feathers. And probably drink and try not to think about football.

J. Roddy Walston might well have the Album of the Year. I mean that.

Mavis Staples could convert you. To anything.

9. Kevin James (Wednesday 7pm Warner Theatre), John Oliver (Friday 7:30pm & 10pm Warner Theatre); Bill Burr (Thursday 7:30pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Pauly Shore (Thursday-Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Thor: Dark World” out in theaters (Friday); White House Down” and “Grown Ups 2” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Maryland Irish Festival (Friday-Sunday Timonium Fairgrounds)

You may know Thor better as “The Avenger you didn’t give a crap about but then your fiancee found out he existed”.

Oh my God-you guys remember when Pauly Shore was a thing???

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Preseason over, Towson ready to open hoops season Friday night

Posted on 04 November 2013 by WNST Staff

TOWSON MEN’S BASKETBALL SEASON OUTLOOK

SEASON OUTLOOK
After recording the biggest turnaround in NCAA history last season, Towson has its sights set on winning its first Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title in 2013-14. Coming off a season in which the Tigers won 18 games, the programs most since 1993-94, expectations will be high for a team that returns four starters and 85 percent of its scoring.

Headlining the group of four returning starters for the Tigers is reigning CAA Player of the Year Jerrelle Benimon, who averaged 17 points and nearly 12 rebounds per game a year ago. The 6-8 senior posted 20 double-doubles during his junior season and was also a member of the CAA All-Defensive team.

Also back at forward is senior Marcus Damas, who added 11 points and over five rebounds per game a year ago. The backcourt is solid with CAA All-Rookie point guard Jerome Hairston, senior Mike BurwellRafriel Guthrie and the addition of Vermont transfer Four McGlynn.

Sophomore Timajh Parker-Rivera is expected to see his role increase this season, while junior Jamel Flash has improved greatly and could push for playing time. Redshirt freshmen Barrington Alston and Marquis Marshall, along with newcomers John Davis and Walter Foster, could also see playing time.

Backcourt

One thing Towson head coach Pat Skerry won’t lack this season is backcourt options. The Tigers return four backcourt players that averaged eight or more points per game last season. Add in to that mix sharpshooters Four McGlynn and Marquis Marshall and the Tigers could throw a variety of lineups at their opponents.

Skerry expects a big year out of starting point guard Jerome Hairston, who averaged 9.9 points and 2.6 assists per game while being named to the CAA All-Rookie team a year ago. The 6-3 point guard is big, and a very good passer with excellent vision. Although he’s a natural point guard, Hairston can score the ball, especially in transition where he is extremely dangerous.

“He’s really worked on his body. He’s in unbelievable shape, stronger, more explosive and a key guy for us,” says Skerry. “We need him to have a great year.”

Marcus Damas (11.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg) provides a ton of versatility as the senior can play nearly any position on the court. The 6-7 forward will see the bulk of his minutes at the small forward spot, bringing not just offensive skills to the table, but also serving as one of the team’s best perimeter defenders.

“Marcus is one of my favorite guys because he’s lived through it all,” says Skerry. “He played at an all-conference level during the second half of last year and I’m expecting that to continue into this season.”

Mike Burwell (9.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg), a 6-6 senior, came to Towson as a noted shooter, but displayed his all-around game last season. Burwell hit a team-high 47 three-pointers during his junior season, but impressed many with his stellar play on the defensive side of the court.

“He was terrific defensively which was exciting,” says Skerry. “He’s a veteran and a long wing and we like that combination. He’s been through the wars and Mike’s one of our most reliable guys.”

Four McGlynn (12.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg in 2011-12) was the American East Rookie of the Year and led Vermont in scoring, three-pointers made (68) and free throw percentage (88.9 percent) before transferring to Towson and sitting out last season. McGlynn is expected to give the Tigers a potent outside threat this season as well as seeing some time at the backup point guard spot.

“Four is an exceptional shooter that can really hit from deep and he is very accurate,” said Skerry. “We didn’t shoot the three great last year, so he’s a great weapon for us to have.”

Perhaps the most improved player on this year’s roster is guard Rafriel Guthrie (8.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg). The 6-4 senior brings grit, determination, and a warrior’s style to the table. Known as a player that can drive and finish around the basket, Guthrie has worked relentlessly on his shooting during the summer to improve his all-around game.

“His game has improved tremendously, his shot, and his ball handling,” says Skerry. “He’s one of our best defenders and someone that’s going to see the court a lot for us this season.”

Coming off a red-shirt season, Marquis Marshall will fight for playing time in a very talented Tiger backcourt. Known as a terrific shooter, Marshall used his sit-out year to add muscle and work on his all-around game. Freshman John Davis could also see some minutes at the small forward spot.

Frontcourt
Size and athleticism won’t be a problem for the Tigers in the frontcourt.

Senior Jerrelle Benimon is who most opponent’s will focus their game plans on and for good reason. The 6-8 forward was dangerous from all spots of the court last year. He shot 53.3 percent from the field, which included knocking down 20 three-pointers at a 41-percent clip. Benimon blocked 60 shots and grabbed 102 offensive rebounds, leading the team in both blocks and assists as well.

“Jerrelle has improved both his ball handling and shooting, so that’s a big plus,” said Skerry. “We are going to play through him this year. We’ll get it to him in the post, he’ll handle the ball in transition and we might even play him as a backup point guard. He’s really matured a lot and he wants to take on a role as a leader of this team.”

Timajh Parker-Rivera (2.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg) could see the biggest jump in minutes played this season as he’ll push for the starting center spot. The 6-7 sophomore was one of Towson’s best players during their summer trip to Canada this year, averaging 10.5 points and 10.7 rebounds with three double-doubles in four games.

“TJ’s as tough as they come,” said Skerry. “His body has improved and he’s put in a lot of work on his jump shot this offseason. He’ll play major minutes for us and we expect him to have a big year rebounding the basketball.”

The longest tenured Tiger is junior Jamel Flash (0.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg). The 6-11 forward has improved each year since his arrival and Skerry expects him to see the floor this season.

Barrington Alston, perhaps the most athletic player on the team, returns after taking a red-shirt season last year due to an illness. The 6-8 lefty has a 7-2 reach and excels in transition due in large part because of his ability to finish above the rim over or around defenders.

Newcomers Walter Foster and John Davis will also see playing time this season for the Tigers. Davis is tough on the block but will also see time on the perimeter. Foster may have the best midrange shot of any Tiger. The 6-8 freshman will push for minutes at the center position while also backing up Benimon at the power forward spot.

Schedule
Towson will once again play one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country, while also playing a balanced CAA slate during the 2013-14 season. The Tigers will take on eight teams that reached post-season play last year, including four 2013 NCAA Tournament teams.

During the non-conference portion of their schedule, the Tigers will face teams from 11 different conferences, including squads from the BIG EAST, Pac-12, Big 12 and American Athletic Conference. This year’s CAA slate will be a balanced schedule with the Tigers playing the other eight league schools twice.

“We’re extremely excited about a challenging non-conference schedule which will prepare us for the battles that we’re going to see night in and night out in the CAA,” said Skerry. “We’re really excited about the number of home games that we’re going to be able to play in SECU Arena, starting with Navy, Morgan State and Temple right out of the gate. We’re also thrilled that we’ll be playing so many of the local area teams.”

Some of the marquee games on the schedule include contests at Kansas, Villanova and Oregon State. The Tigers will also begin their first season inside the brand new SECU arena. They’ll open up the arena with three straight home games, including a contest against 2013 NCAA Tournament team Temple.

The Tigers will also play in the 2013 Lumberjack E-Tech Classic in Texas and host the Battle 4 Atlantis Mainland Tournament inside SECU Arena.

Towson will continue to renew local rivalries with games against Morgan State, UMBC and Coppin State on the schedule.

The CAA slate of games for the Tigers will once again be extremely challenging. The Tigers will play home-and-home series against each of the other eight league schools. This year’s CAA Tournament will be moving to the Baltimore Arena and will run March 7-10 with the winner gaining the league automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament

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Guthrie leads way as Towson wins exhibition finale

Posted on 30 October 2013 by WNST Staff

GUTHRIE TALLIES 32 POINTS, TIGERS CRUISE IN EXHIBITION FINALE
Towson Tops Mansfield, 85-65


TOWSON, Md. 
 – Senior Rafriel Guthrie tallied a game-high 32 points to lead the Towson men’s basketball team to an 85-65 victory over Mansfield in the Tigers’ exhibition finale on Wednesday night at SECU Arena.

Guthrie shot 8-for-13 from the field and made 14 of 18 free throw attempts as the Tigers won their second of two exhibition games.

Towson shot 51.1 percent from the field and made 49 trips to the free throw line, making 33. The Tigers had 15 assists on 24 made baskets and outrebounded the Mountaineers, 45-30.

Seniors Jerrelle Benimon (16) and Marcus Damas (11), and sophomore Four McGlynn (10) joined Guthrie in double figures for the Tigers. Benimon shot 6-for-8 from the field and also grabbed seven rebounds.

Towson sophomore Jerome Hairston dished out a game-high six assists while freshman John Davis posted seven points and a game-high nine rebounds.

After Mansfield scored the first bucket of the game, Towson scored 11 straight to spark a 32-10 run that gave the Tigers a 20-point advantage at the 8:45 mark of the first half.

Mansfield battled back to make it an 11-point game on a Joe Bell three-pointer that made it 38-27 with just under six minutes to play in the opening stanza. Bell tallied a team-high 16 points for the Mountaineers.

Towson responded by scoring 10 of the next 14 points to boost its lead back to 17 and the Tigers would own a 51-35 advantage at the intermission.

Less than three minutes into the second half, Mansfield cut the Towson lead to 53-39 but the Mountaineers would get no closer the rest of the game. The Tigers led by as many as 22 in the second half.

Towson will open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 8 against Navy. Tip time is set for 7:30 p.m. inside SECU Arena.

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Towson tops Bloomsburg in exhibition debut at new arena

Posted on 24 October 2013 by WNST Staff

Tigers Open SECU Arena With Exhibition Victory
Benimon, Burwell combine for 34 points as Towson pulls away for 86-65 win


TOWSON, Md. 
 – The Towson University men’s basketball team played its first game in the brand new SECU Arena on Thursday night, downing Bloomsburg (Pa.) University, 86-65, in the first of two exhibition games for the Tigers.

The senior duo of Mike Burwell and Jerrelle Benimon led the way for the Towson, combining for 34 points and 13 rebounds. Twelve different Tigers saw action in the exhibition, with nine scoring at least three points.

After a close first half, Towson stepped up its defensive efforts in the final 20 minutes. The Tigers limited Bloomsburg to just six field goals on 24 percent shooting in the final stanza. Towson also took advantage of a dominant effort from the free throw line, making 38 of 53 from the charity stripe, including 14-for-18 shooting from Benimon.

Sophomore Jerome Hairston was also in double figures for the Tigers with 11 points to go along with a team-high tying three assists. In his first action in a Towson uniform, sophomore transfer Four McGlynn tallied nine points, including a three-pointer and four-for-four shooting from the free throw line.

Led by Dontahe Jordan and Jon Riles, Bloomsburg opened the game hitting seven of its first 14 field goal attempts and raced out to an early 18-8 lead. Towson methodically clawed its way back into the game, going on an 18-5 run over a span of 7:27 to take a 26-23 lead that was punctuated by freshman John Davis’ dunk with 5:25 to play in the opening half. However, the Tigers would trail 40-39 at the intermission.

In the second half, Towson took control for good. The home team recaptured the lead at 49-48 on freshman forward Walter Foster’s block and transition dunk on the other end of the floor. That sequence sparked a 20-7 Tigers run and Towson led 69-55 with just under eight minutes to play. The Tigers would lead by as many as 26 in the second half.

For the game, Towson shot 40.7 percent (22-of54) and held a 51-31 rebounding advantage. The Tigers also forced 22 turnovers and scored 28 points off those miscues.

Burwell finished with a game-high 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting. Senior Marcus Damas chipped in nine points, while classmate Rafriel Guthrie added eight points and a team-high tying seven rebounds.

Bloomsburg was led by Riles’ 16 points, including 4-for-5 shooting from three-point range.

The Tigers wrap up their exhibition schedule next Wednesday at home against Mansfield. Tip time is set for 7:30 p.m. from SECU Arena.

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Towson plays first exhibition game Thursday against Bloomsburg

Posted on 23 October 2013 by WNST Staff

SETTING THE STAGE: The Towson men’s basketball team will host Bloomsburg University on Thursday in its first exhibition game of the season. The game, set to tip at 7:30 p.m., will be the first Tiger men’s basketball game played inside brand new SECU Arena.

PRESEASON HONORS: Towson, which returns four starters from last year’s 18-13 team, has been picked to win the CAA men’s basketball championship in 2013-14 according to a vote of the league’s coaches, media relations directors and media members. The results of the poll were announced during Tuesday’s CAA Basketball Media Day in Baltimore, Md. Additionally, senior Jerrelle Benimon was named as the leagues Preseason Player of the Year.

WELCOME BACK: Towson returns four of five starters and 85 percent of its scoring from a year ago. Leading the charge will be reining CAA Player of the Year Benimon, who averaged 17.1 points and 11.2 rebounds per game last season. The Tigers return three other seniors in Marcus Damas, Mike Burwell and Rafriel Guthrie. CAA All-Rookie Team selection Jerome Hairston and sophomore forward Timajh Parker-Rivera are expected to also be big contributors this season. The Tigers also return junior Jamel Flash and redshirt freshmen Marquis Marshall andBarrington Alston. After sitting out last season per NCAA transfer rules, sophomore Four McGlynn will be eligible to play this season.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: Bloomsburg University is a Division II school located in Pennsylvania. The Huskies are members of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and are coming off an 8-19 season.

WHAT’S ON TAP: The Tigers will host Mansfield University for an exhibition game on October 30 at 7:30 p.m. inside SECU Arena. That game will serve as a final tune-up before Towson opens the season at home against Navy on November 8 at 7:30 p.m.

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