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Etherly scores 27 to lift Loyola past Kent State in CIT

Posted on 24 March 2013 by WNST Staff

Etherly’s 27, Team Free Throw Shooting Lifts Loyola Into CIT Quarterfinals


BALTIMORE – Erik Etherly recorded a double-double with 27 points and 11 rebounds, making 17-of-19 free throws, and Loyola University Maryland made 87.9-percent of its attempts from the charity stripe, and the Greyhounds defeated visiting Kent State University, 73-59, on Sunday afternoon in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.

With the win, Loyola (23-11 overall) advanced to the CIT Quarterfinals where it will play at East Carolina University on Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m.

Etherly’s 17 made free throws are tied for second-most in school single game history, one shy of the program record 18 set by Jamal Barney against NJIT on January 14, 2009. Of the four players in school history to make 17 or more in a game – including Maurice Hicks (17 in 1983) and Rodney Floyd (17 in 1973) – Etherly’s came in the fewest number of attempts.

As a team, the Greyhounds made 29-of-33 from the line, as Dylon Cormier made 7-of-9, Anthony Winbush knocked down his three attempts, and Chido Onyiuke scored his first collegiate points by making 2-of-2 in the final 30 seconds.

“Erik can make a living by getting to the free throw line, and he was aggressive in going to the basket and drawing contact today,” Head Coach Jimmy Patsos said.

The Greyhounds never trailed in the game that was tied just twice in the first four minutes. Loyola built a nine-point lead less than seven minutes in after a pair of Etherly free throws.

Kent State (21-14) cut Greyhounds lead back to three on a Khaliq Spicer dunk with 3:34 left before halftime, but that was as close as the Golden Flashes would get.

Robert Olson did not score in the first half, but he knocked down a three 57 seconds into the second half to extend the Loyola advantage to 10, 36-26.

Loyola went up by 12 twice over a minute span, the second time coming on a Cormier free throw at 12:41, but Chris Evans made two free throws at 10:47, and Kent State was within seven, 50-43. The Greyhounds quickly took the lead back into double figures until Randal Holt made two at the line to pull Kent State within nine, 54-45, with 8:28 on the clock.

A quick 6-0 Loyola run, however, with four Etherly free throws and a goaltending call against the Golden Flashes on a Cormier fast-break layup gave the Greyhounds their largest lead of the game, 60-45, with 6:29 left.

Kent State had one final comeback attempt, pulling within nine on a Darren Goodson jumper at 4:21, but Etherly again made a pair at the line, and the lead was back to double figures.

Cormier finished with 18 points, and Olson added 10. Etherly also led all players with four assists.

Evans and Holt led the Golden Flashes with 13 points each, and Goodson scored 12, but Kent State shot just 27.6-percent (16-of-58) from the field.

Evans, who was Kent State’s leading scorer (16.3 points, 7.8 rebounds) entering the game, was held to just 2-of-11 from the field primarily because of the defense played by Winbush.

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Loyola plays host to Kent State Sunday in CIT

Posted on 23 March 2013 by WNST Staff

Opponent Kent State Golden Flashes | CIT Second Round
Date Sunday, March 24, 2013
Time 3:00 p.m.
Location Baltimore, Md. | Reitz Arena
TV | Radio CollegeInsider.com | Hounds Unleashed
Series Record Kent State leads, 2-0
Last Meeting Kent State 57, Loyola 56 – Nov. 28, 1998 in Baltimore

Game Data

Loyola University Maryland continues play in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament on Sunday, March 24, when it hosts Kent State University in Reitz Arena.

Tip-off is set for 3 o’clock.


Postseason Firsts

Tuesday’s first-round game marked the first time in Loyola’s Division I history (since 1981-1982) that the Greyhounds have played in the postseason in consecutive seasons after making the NCAA Tournament a year ago.

It was also be the first Division I men’s basketball postseason game to be hosted on the Evergreen Campus.

Loyola’s berth in the CIT is also its first in the five-year history of the event.


Watch Or Listen

CollegeInsider.com will carry Loyola’s broadcast of the game live and free of charge on its website.

Fans can also listen to the action on LoyolaGreyhounds.com where Gary Lambrecht will call the play-by-play, and Jim Chivers will handle analysis duties.


CIT Information

The CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament made its debut in 2009 as a 16-team tournament that included schools from mid-major conferences. In 2011, the tournament expanded to 24 teams, and it grew again this year to 32.

Teams in this year’s event will play in an unbracketed first round, and the tournament will be seeded and bracketed following those 16 games. Quarterfinal play begins Tuesday, March 26 at campus sites.


Series History

Loyola and Kent State will meet for the third time on the basketball court when the teams tip-off on Sunday.

The programs played a home-and-home series in 1997-1998 and 1998-1999 with the Golden Flashes taking both meetings.

Kent State prevailed 83-72 on its home court in a November 29, 1997 game, and it then edged the Greyhounds, 57-56, on November 28, 1998, in Reitz Arena.

In the 1997 game, Loyola’s Mike Powell had the fifth-best single-game performance from the free-throw line, making all 11 of his attempts. In the same game, the Greyhounds had 18 steals, the most against a Division I opponent in school history and the second-most in any game.

Jason Rowe dished out 10 assists, an amount that is tied for ninth-best in school single-game history, in the 1998 contest in Baltimore.


Last Time Out

Malik Thomas’ dunk with 15:32 to play in the second half gave Boston University a 15-point lead, but Loyola outscored the Terriers 38-16 over the remainder of the game, and the Greyhounds pulled away for a 70-63 victory Tuesday night in the CIT First Round in Reitz Arena.

Robert Olson started the comeback with a three off an R.J. Williams assist 13 seconds after Thomas’ dunk, but the Terriers maintained a double-digit advantage for the next two minutes.

Dylon Cormier later hit a three at 10:58 for his first points of the game, and the Greyhounds were within nine. Anthony Winbush drained a three as the trailer in transition with 5:55 remaining, and Loyola had its first lead of the game, 56-55.

Boston University would tie the game once more, 58-58, but Loyola scored the next seven points.

Cormier and Olson both finished with 16 points for Loyola, while Winbush added nine and Erik Etherly scored eight. Etherly had a game-high nine rebounds, while Williams tied his career-high with seven assists.


Postseason History

This year’s bid to the CIT marks the first time in Loyola men’s basketball’s NCAA Division I history (since 1981-1982) that the Greyhounds have gone to the postseason (defined as competition following the designated conference tournament) in back-to-back years.

It is just the third time overall in school history that the program has achieved consecutive postseason appearances.

The Emil ‘Lefty’ Reitz-coached teams in 1946-1947, 1947-1948 and 1948-1949 advanced to the NAIA Division I Championships, and the final squad during that period also went 3-1 in the 1949 National Catholic Intercollegiate Tournament.

Two years later, Reitz’s teams had a two-year stretch of postseason competition, playing in the National Catholic Championship following the 1951-1952 season before going 1-1 in the NAIA Division I Championships at the end of 1952-1953.

At the Division I level, Loyola has played in the 1994 and 2012 NCAA Tournaments.

All told, the Greyhounds are 6-8 in postseason play entering the game against the Golden Flashes.

The win over Boston University on Tuesday was Loyola’s first in Division I postseason history.


Comeback Trail

Loyola trailed Boston Unviersity, 45-30 with just under 16 minutes to play in regulation Tuesday, but from that point forward, Loyola shot 61.1-percent from the field (11-of-21), and all but one of the Greyhounds’ baskets were assisted.

Defensively, Loyola forced seven Terriers’ turnovers, four coming by way of Greyhounds steals. Boston University made just seven of its last 18 shots and five of its final 15.

During that run, Loyola knocked down 6-of-8 3-point attempts, while the Terriers converted on just 2-of-8 from behind the arc.

Loyola outrebounded Boston University, 14-7, in the final 16 minutes, and Loyola shot 15 free throws (making 12), while the Terriers missed their only attempt from the stripe during the span.

During that run, Dylon Cormier scored 16 points, Robert Olson had seven, and Anthony Winbush added six.

Erik Etherly pulled down six of his game-high nine rebounds during the stretch, while R.J. Williams (four) and Winbush (three) combined for seven of the Greyhounds’ 10 assists.


Cormier’s Last 11 Minutes

Dylon Cormier did not score for the first 29 minutes of Tuesday’s game, missing all five of his shots as Loyola trailed by as many as 15 points.

However, he hit 4-of-5 shots from the field and 5-of-6 at the free-throw line in the final 11 minutes and finished with 16 in the seven-point victory.

He made all three of his attempts from 3-point range during the run, and a fourth was initially ruled a three before being reversed to a two on replay. Entering the game, Cormier had made three treys in a game just once this season, at Siena All four of Cormier’s field goals in the final 11 minutes were assisted, three by R.J. Williams and one by Anthony Winbush.


Olson’s Shooting Keeps Greyhounds Close

Robert Olson matched Dylon Cormier’s 16 points on Tuesday night against Boston University, and while Cormier scored all 16 of his points in the final 11 minutes, it was Olson’s nine first-half points that helped the Greyhounds stay within five points at the break.

The senior guard scored all nine of his first-half points on three from behind the arc, and he also led Loyola at the break with five rebounds.

In the second half, Olson knocked down two more 3-pointers, and he also had three assists and a steal in the second half.


Olson Sets Games Played Record

When he took the floor to start the CIT First Round game on Tuesday, Robert Olson became Loyola’s all-time games played leader. Entering the Kent State contest, Olson has seen action in 125 games for Loyola, one more than previous record-holder Brian Rudolph (2007-2011). Rudolph and Olson played in 59 games together from 2009-2010.

Throughout his four years at Loyola, Olson has missed just one game (at New Hampshire in November 2012).

Olson has played in all 33 games this season – the only Loyola player to do so – and with one more game played, he will also set the school single-season record.

Including Loyola’s win against Boston University, Olson has been a part of more victories (74) than any other Greyhound.

In the game at Iona, Robert Olson became the 22nd player in school history to score more than 1,200 points in his career. He is now 19th all-time at Loyola with 1,243 career points and is nine away from tying Aubrey Reveley (1983-1987) for 18th.

The MAAC Quarterfinal was the 124th game played of Olson’s career, moving him into a tie with Brian Rudolph for most games played in school history.

Elsewhere on the Loyola career charts, Olson is second in 3-pointers made (209) behind only Marquis Sullivan’s 281. He is also 21st in field-goals made (420), second in 3-pointers attempted (548), 16th in assists (231) and seventh in steals (118).


All-MAAC Honors

Dylon Cormier and Erik Ethelry became the first pair of Loyola men’s basketball teammates to earn All-MAAC First Team honors in the same season.

Etherly earned the honors for the second year in a row after averaging 16.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game during the regular-season.

He also blocked 27 shots and recorded 39 steals in 26 games. Etherly led the Greyhounds in scoring 11 times and has tallied 10 or more on 22 occasions, 20 or more 10 times.

Cormier has led the Greyhounds in scoring all season and enters the CIT first round with a 16.5 points per game average. He has scored in double digits in 28 of the 31 games he’s played this season and led the team in scoring 14 times.

In addition to his scoring, Cormier leads the team in total assists (77) and is second in the MAAC in both total steals (58) and steals per game (1.8).


Etherly’s Career-High

Erik Etherly closed the 2012-2013 regular-season with a career-high 30 points on Sunday against Manhattan, becoming the first Loyola player since Jamal Barney on February 16, 2009, to finish with 30 or more points.

Etherly made a career-best 11 field goals on 18 attempts and could have even more points except for going 8-of-15 from the free-throw line.

The graduate student started the game by missing his first two shots, and three of his first four, but he misfired on just four more shots in the final 35 minutes of action.  He scored 19 in the first half on 7-of-11 shooting.


Etherly Over The Last Seven Of The Regular Season

Erik Etherly’s 30-point effort in the regular-season against the Jaspers gave the graduate student five games of 22 or more points in Loyola’s last seven outings and three-straight  with 23 or more.

He scored 25 versus Siena on February 8, 22 at Marist two days later, 26 at Tennessee State on February 23 and 23 last Friday night at Iona..

During that seven-game stretch, in which Etherly also scored nine at home versus Canisius and 11 at Siena, he is averaging a team-best 20.9 points. He is shooting 55.4-percent from the field during those games.


Scoring Off Turnovers

Loyola has increased its point production off opponents’ turnovers over the past 12 games, tallying 250 over that time period, an average of 20.8 per game.

In the first 22 games of the year, the Greyhounds scored just 304 points or 13.8 per game.

During the last 12 games, Loyola’s opponents have committed an average of 14.9 turnovers per game, 179 total. In the first 22 games of the season, opponents turned the ball over 276 times, an average of 12.5 per game.

Loyola’s steals have also risen from 6.6 to 8.6 per game between the first 21 and the last 12 games.


Three In The 20s

Three Loyola players scored 20 or more points on March 1 at Iona as Erik Etherly and Robert Olson both posted 23, and Anthony Winbush finished with 20.

It marked the first time in Jimmy Patsos’ nine years as Loyola head coach that the Greyhounds have seen three players reach 20 in the same game. The last time Loyola accomplished the feat was on February 16, 2002, when Donovan Thomas scored 27, B.J. Davis had 21 and Lucious Jordan added 20 in an 88-78 win at Saint Peter’s.


Winbush On Target In Career-High

Anthony Winbush’s 20 points at Iona marked a career-high for the fifth-year senior and the first 20-point game of his career. He did so while only missing two shots, going 10-of-12 from the field. His 10 field goals and 12 field goal attempts were also career-highs.

Prior to that game, Winbush’s career high was 17 points, a total he had reached twice. The last time he scored 17 was on December 18, 2008, at Bucknell during his freshman year at Loyola.

His previous season-high was 16 in a game that he shot made 5-of-8 field goals, including a pair of threes, and 4-of-6 free throws against Saint Peter’s on December 8, 2012, at the IZOD Center.


Olson’s Last Twelve

Robert Olson has been the Greyhounds’ second leading scorer over the last 12 games, averaging 15.9 points per game during that stretch. He has scored in double figures in 10 of the 12 games, has four games of 20 or more and five with better than 17.

During the run, in which Loyola is 8-4, Olson has shot 40.0-percent from the field and 40.2-percent from 3-point range. Those numbers represent improvements over the 37.8-percent from the field and 28.3-percent from 3-point range he shot in Loyola’s first 21 games.

Olson has made two or more 3-pointers in all but one of those games, and he has connected on four or more in five of the 12 games.

His stretch has raised his scoring average from 11.3 through 21 games to 12.9 entering the CIT Second Round.


20-Win Season

The February 23 victory at Tennessee State was the Greyhounds’ 20th of the 2012-2013 season, marking the second time in as many years Loyola has reached the 20-win plateau. It is the first back-to-back 20-win seasons in school Division I history (since 1981-1982) and just the fifth overall.

Loyola previously put three-straight 20-win seasons together from 1946-1949 under the direction of head coach Emil “Lefty” Reitz.


More Than 60 Years

The last time the Loyola men’s basketball program won 20 games in back-to-back seasons, 1948-1949, the following things were going on in the world, 63 years ago:

Harry Truman began his first full term as President of the United States.

Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman premiered on Broadway.

The Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League merged to form the NBA.

The first jet-powered airliner, the de Havilland Comet, took flight.


Another 20-Point Game For Cormier

Dylon Cormier recorded his second-straight 20-point effort at Tennessee State, making 7-of-16 field goals and 5-of-7 from the free-throw line against the Tigers. He has led Loyola in scoring throughout the season and is currently sixth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with 16.6 points per game. Cormier has scored 15 or more 20 times this season.

Cormier earned Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Week honors on February 18 after averaging 20.5 points and 4.0 steals in wins over Canisius and Siena the weekend prior. He led all players with 24 points, going 9-of-10 from the free-throw line at Siena, and he also tied his season-high with five steals.

He has consistently raised his game since his freshman season. Cormier averaged 8.1 as a freshman in 2010-2011, 13.4 last year and 16.5 this season. His rebounds per game have also risen from 3.0-3.3-4.5, as have his steals per game (0.8-1.6-1.8) and assists per game (1.1-1.8-2.3). He currently is second in the MAAC in steals (58) and steals per game (1.8).


Hit On 70

With their win over Boston University the Greyhounds are 9-3 this season when scoring 70 or more points in a game. Their only losses when scoring that many or more came at home against Iona and at Canisius and Iona.

Over the last two seasons, Loyola is now 19-4 when it scores 70 or more. Its only loss of that kind in 2011-2012 was in an 83-79 defeat at Rider.


Record-Tying Defense

The 41 points Loyola yielded at Manhattan tied the Greyhounds’ Division I record for fewest points allowed in a game. Loyola, which joined Division I in 1981-1982, allowed 41 points on two other occasions, a 43-41 win over Marist College on February 23, 1984, and a 58-41 victory at Dartmouth on November 24, 2009.

The 14 field goals by Manhattan were the fewest yielded by a Jimmy Patsos-coached Loyola team.


Opponents Under 50

The Manhattan game was the third time this season Loyola has held an opponent to fewer than 50 points. The Greyhounds did so in the November 9 season-opener against Binghamton (45) and on November 17 against Norfolk State (49).

Loyola twice held opponents to sub-50 performances last season: February 3, 2012, against Rider (46) and March 5 versus Fairfield (44) in the MAAC Championship Game.

Over the nine years Jimmy Patsos has been head coach at Loyola, the Greyhounds have held opponents under 50 points nine times, all Greyhound wins. The nine games have all come in the last four seasons.


Cormier, Etherly Score 1,000th Points

On Monday night at Fairfield, Erik Etherly and Dylon Cormier became the 33rd and 34th players in Loyola men’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career points as Greyhounds, and they did so in the same game, a feat never before accomplished at Loyola.

Etherly scored his 1,000th on a layup just 15 seconds into the second half at Fairfield, and Cormier followed suit on a 3-pointer from the left corner 8:07 later.


1,000 Points In the Same Game

Prior to the Fairfield game, through unofficial research, the last time a school had two players reach 1,000 points in the same game was nearly five years ago when Fernandez Lockett and Todd Babington of Austin Peay hit the plateau on March 7, 2008

However, it took just 24 hours for it to happen again as North Carolina State’s Richard Howell and Lorenzo Brown got to 1,000 in the Wolfpack’s 86-84 loss at Wake Forest on Tuesday night.


And Olson Makes It Three

Erik Etherly and Dylon Cormier were not the first Loyola players to score 1,000 in a career this season. Robert Olson reached the mark on January 6 against Saint Peter’s.

It is the first time in Loyola’s 103 seasons of men’s basketball that the program has had three players with 1,000 career points at the same time.


Three 1,000-Point Scorers In MAAC History

Since the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference was founded in 1980, this is just the sixth instance of a team touting three players with 1,000-plus points at the same time. Iona (2000-2001, 2011-2012) and Siena (1999-2000, 2009-2010) have accomplished twice, while Loyola joins Niagara (2004-2005) with a one-time occurrence.


Holding Opponents Under 60

The Greyhounds limited Siena to 51 points, the 12th time this season they have held an opponent to 59 or fewer on the scoreboard. Loyola has won all 12 of those games. Including the 2011-2012 season, Loyola has held opponents to 59 or fewer 23 times, all victories.


Cormier Getting To The Line

Through 32 games played this season, Dylon Cormier has shot 221 free throws, an average of 6.9 per game. He has made 73.8-percent of those shots, a total of 163.

His 163 made are sixth-most in Loyola single-season history, and his 324 career free-throws made are 11th most in program history.


Guards To The Boards

Dylon Cormier and Robert Olson, Loyola’s starting guards, are tied for third on the team in rebounding this season with both averaging 4.5 per game.

Olson has pulled down five or more boards 17 times this year, and Cormier has reached or exceeded that total 13 times.


Winning Combinations

Loyola is now 13-1 when it shoots 45-percent or better in a game, and the Greyhounds are now 16-3 when scoring 65 or more points this season.  Loyola is also 13-1 when holding opponents to 59 points or less.


High Marks

The Loyola men’s basketball team scored the highest amongst squads in the State of Maryland in the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate report. The Greyhounds checked in with a 91-percent GSR, tops among the state’s nine Division I schools, for players who entered the school between 2002-2005.


Century Mark

Head Coach Jimmy Patsos became the third coach in Loyola history to win 100 games when the Greyhounds defeated UMBC, 73-63, on the road last season. Patsos, who is now in his ninth season, took over a team that finished 1-27 during the 2002-2003 season. He won his 100th game in his 215th career game.

Last season, Patsos moved into third-place all time at Loyola in victories, trailing only Lefty Reitz (349 wins, 1937-44, 1945-61) and Nap Doherty (165, 1961-74).

Loyola All-Time Coaching Wins List
1. 349 Lefty Reitz 1937-1944, 1945-1961
2. 165 Nap Doherty 1961-1974
3. 144 Jimmy Patsos 2004-present
4. 85 Mark Amatucci 1982-1989
5. 72 Gary Dicovitsky 1976-1981



Baltimore Bred And More From Nearby

Since taking over as head coach in 2004, Jimmy Patsos has put an emphasis on recruiting locally, and it has never shown as much as on this year’s roster. Four players – junior guard Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons), junior forward Jordan Latham (City) and sophomore guard R.J. Williams and freshman forward Josh Forney (St. Frances) are products of schools within the city limits.

Six more players played in high school within 50 miles of Loyola, as the crow flies (thanks daftlogic.com): Jarred Jones, John Carroll, 20.5; Tyler Hubbard, Montrose Christian, 32.6 miles; Robert Olson, Georgetown Prep, 33.9; Anthony Winbush, T.C. Williams, 43.7; and Erik Etherly, Annandale, 47.9.

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Kent State next for Loyola in CIT

Posted on 21 March 2013 by WNST Staff

Greyhounds To Host Kent State Sunday In CIT Second Round


BALTIMORE – Fresh off its first postseason victory in school Division I history, the Loyola University Maryland men’s basketball team will host Kent State University on Sunday, March 24, in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament Second Round in Reitz Arena.

Tickets for the game can be purchased online at LoyolaGreyhounds.com/Tickets or by calling 410-617-1420.

The Greyhounds (22-11 overall) defeated Boston Unviersity, 70-63, on Tuesday night in the first round after trailing by 15 points in the second half.

Kent State advanced to the second round with a 73-71 victory last night over Fairfield University. Randal Holt, who led the Golden Flashes with 18 points, scored on a driving layup with three seconds remaining to provide the winning margin.

The Golden Flashes finished third in the Mid-American Conference East Division during the regular season and with their win over the Stags, they enter the second round game with a 21-13 overall record.

Sunday will be the teams’ third meeting in series history. Loyola and Kent State played a home-and-home series in 1997-1998 and 1998-1999 with the Golden Flashes winning both contests.

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Towson opens season Thursday at Kent State

Posted on 29 August 2012 by WNST Staff

TOWSON, Md. – For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Towson University football team will open its season on the road against an NCAA FBS program when the Tigers travel to Kent State University on Thursday night to face the Golden Flashes at Dix Stadium at 7 p.m.

The Tigers’ season opener will be televised back to the Baltimore area on Comcast-Plus. Joe Beninati will call all the action from Kent State while Brad Jackson provides the color commentary.

The game will also be aired on the Tigers’ web site, www.TowsonTigers.com with Spiro Morekas and Ron Meehan calling the action.

The Tigers, who return eight starters on offense and six starters on defense, stunned the college football world last season with a historic turnaround. One year after finishing the season with a 1-10 record, the 2011 Tigers were one of the most improved teams in college football history as they won their first Colonial Athletic Association championship and finished the season with a 9-3 record.

However, the Tigers won’t surprise anyone this season. Towson is ranked among the top ten teams in nearly every FCS pre-season poll. The Tigers are ranked as high as fourth in the nation by Lindy’s. But, the consensus rates Towson anywhere from sixth to eighth in the nation. For the first time ever, Towson has been tabbed as the CAA pre-season favorite.

All the pre-season attention has created a different dilemma for Coach Rob Ambrose.

He says, “We have had to work hard to stay focused. Up until last season, all our players heard was how bad they were. That is easy to block out. Now, everybody wants to tell us how good we are. That is harder to ignore. But, we’ve been working since January to put last year in the past. We had a very good pre-season and I think we’re ready to go.”

For the first time since 2008, the Tigers enter the season with an established starter at quarterback. Senior Grant Enders started 11 games last season and won nine of them. He completed 165 of 245 passes for 2,081 yards and led the CAA with a 153.72 pass efficiency rating. Enders threw 16 touchdown passes with only eight interceptions.

Sophomore Terrance West,  a pre-season All-American, returns to lead the Tigers’ running game. Honored as the winner of the Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in FCS football, West led the nation with 29 touchdowns scored while running for 1,294 yards. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry.

Junior tackle Eric Pike and junior center Doug Shaw are back to lead the offensive line. Pike was a third team All-CAA selection last season.

On defense, the Tigers will be relying on a pair of All-Americans, defensive end Frank Beltre and safety Jordan Dangerfield.

A third-year starter, Beltre made 68 tackles as a junior, fourth on the team. He also ranked third among CAA defensive linemen in tackles while making 12 tackles for lost yardage. He also had four sacks. In his career, he has made 196 tackles.

A two-year starter at safety, Dangerfield led the Tigers with 93 tackles last season despite missing two games with an injury. In two seasons with the Tigers, he has made 189 tackles. Last year, he also intercepted two passes, recovered two fumbles and forced a pair of fumbles.

Junior Jordan Love and sophomore Tye Smith will join Dangerfield in the secondary, along with sophomore safety Thomas Bradley.  Love is a transfer from the University of Georgia who has been impressive in the pre-season while Smith made 49 tackles and intercepted two passes last year.

Senior defensive end Romale Tucker and senior linebacker Danzel White also return as top defensive players. Tucker led all CAA defensive linemen with 73 tackles last season while White had 77 tackles in nine games.

Coach Ambrose is pleased with the progress the Tigers made during the pre-season. He says, “This is actually the first camp where the players actually knew what it took for us to win. Our players know how hard you have to work and they know how much discipline you need. For us, the biggest word has been focus. That has been the theme for us all during camp.”

Kent State, a member of the Mid-America Conference, posted a 5-7 record last season. However, the Golden Flashes won four of their final five games.

“This is an extremely good defensive team,” says Coach Ambrose. “They might have two NFL draft choices on that defensive unit. In fact, this might be the best defensive team that Towson has ever played.”

The Tigers, who are starting their 44th season of college football, have a 27-16 all-time record in season openers. However, the Tigers dropped season openers on the road, losing at Navy (41-13) in 2008, Northwestern (47-14) in 2009 and Indiana (51-17) in 2010.

By contrast, Kent State is opening its 90th season of college football.

Towson, which opened the 2011 season with a home win over Morgan State, is seeking its first season-opening win on the road since the 2004 season. In 2004, the Tigers beat Elon, 34-14.

After opening the season at Kent State, the Tigers will be off until Saturday, Sept. 15 when they host William & Mary in the Colonial Athletic Association opener for both teams at Johnny Unitas® Stadium at 12 noon. The game will be broadcast on NBC Sports.

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