By: Jalon Dixon, Columnist
File Photo by: Brendan Felch/The Towerlight
Redshirt senior forward Nakye Sanders scored 18 points to go along with seven rebounds as the Tigers defeated Regent University 71-55. Sophomore guard Jakigh Dottin scored a career-high 14 points and collected four rebounds.
“It’s good to get a win,” head coach Pat Skerry said. “We rebounded the ball well and I thought we had a good push for about ten minutes mostly because of these two guys (Dottin and freshman forward Charles Thompson).”
The Royals (4-14, 1-0 South Region) would open the game with two quick baskets from sophomore guard Andrew Aiken and sophomore center Damon Hammock-Fitzger to give Regent their only lead of the game, putting them up 4 -0.
Towson (15-11, 8-5 CAA) responded with two dunks from their big men, Sanders and redshirt senior forward Dennis Tunstall, initiating a 20 to 3 run to put the Tigers up 20 – 7 with 9:29 left to go in the half.
Bench scoring was a key factor for Towson as Dottin and freshman forward Charles Thompson contributed off the bench. Thompson scored five points, but also blocked two shots and collected five rebounds.
“Jakigh gave us a good burst, Charles has been good,” Skerry said. “Both of these guys one of the big things is that they’ve sacrificed a lot for us to have some success moving forward.”
Redshirt junior forward Juwan Gray injured his hand against Delaware and was inactive, his absence combined with a rough shooting night for the backcourt of senior guard Brian Fobbs and sophomore guard Allen Betrand who shot a combined 7 of 17 from the floor, Dottin and Thompson helped carry the offensive load combining for 19 of the Tigers 27 bench points.
“Coming off the bench and seeing the energy of the game, you’ve got to go in there and make a change,” Dottin said. “It’s a different kind of energy and you’ve got to get a feel for the game and stuff like that, but you’ve got to approach the game the same way every single time.”
In what seemed to be a game of runs, Regent would respond with a scoring streak of their own after shooting 25% from the floor to start the game. The Royals would go on a 15-8 run to cut Towson’s lead to five points with 58 seconds left.
The Tigers closed the half with an and-1 layup from Thompson to put them up 31 – 25 going into halftime.
“I try to give the same approach to every game,” Thompson said. “Doesn’t matter who we’re playing, it could be Florida it could be Xavier, it could be D3, it could be NAIA. Doesn’t matter, I try to bring the same intensity every game. I don’t look down on opponents, I don’t look up on opponents I try to be consistent in the type of energy I bring.”
At the start of the second half, the Royals made their first four shots to cut their deficit to three points.
From that point on, Towson went on another run as they outscored Regent 20-4 over the next nine minutes to go up 59 – 40 with 8:16 left in the game.
Rebounding was another factor in the game as the Tigers won the rebound battle over the Royals 42-25 with 15 being offensive rebounds. Towson scored 15 points off second chance baskets.
With 4:20 left in the game, redshirt freshman guard Nicolas Timberlake hit a three to put the Tigers up by 20 giving them their largest lead of the game.
“It’s going to take all eight guys to get to where we want to get to,” Skerry said. “We’re a game and a half out of first and there is a good likelihood that we can have some good fortune Saturday night, we’re probably going to find ourselves in a pretty good position coming home next week.”
Towson will travel to Harrisonburg, Virginia to face James Madison on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m.