Thompson misses first half, Towson comes back to defeat William & Mary in second round of CAA Men’s Basketball Championship

By Jake Shindel, men’s basketball reporter

Towson men’s basketball was down by six points with 14:22 remaining in a second-round game against William & Mary in the CAA Men’s Basketball Championship. 

But the team locked in on defense from that point on, holding William & Mary scoreless for over 10 minutes. The Tigers scored 20 points in the span and took a 58-47 lead with under four minutes remaining.

Graduate student forward Charles Thompson missed the entire first half, and Towson was down by one after 20 minutes. But he showed up in a big way in the second half, and his contributions helped Towson defeat William & Mary, 67-56.

Thompson played all but the final 24 seconds of the second half and finished the game with 10 points, six rebounds and three assists. 

Skerry did not discuss why Thompson missed the first half, but William & Mary head coach Dane Fischer said his team was prepared for the possibility that he’d be out.

“[Thompson] is a terrific presence in the paint, phenomenal offensive rebounder, and where he probably makes the biggest difference is on the defensive end,” Fischer said. 

The win advances Towson to the quarterfinals, where they’ll face UNC-Wilmington on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Towson’s guards played well in the win, with freshman guard Dylan Williamson scoring a team-high 15 points. Twelve of Williamson’s points came in the final 15:38 of the second half. 

Williamson scored six points on six free-throw attempts. This season, Towson has struggled from the free-throw line, shooting a CAA-worst 65.7% from the charity stripe this season. However, the team shot 17-for-21 against William & Mary. 

Redshirt junior guard Nendah Tarke also had a big game, recording 14 points and eight rebounds. 

“He’s talented,” Towson coach Pat Skerry said. “He’s got a great body, great instincts. We need him to be aggressive. When he plays at a high level, it really elevates our team. I was proud of him today; he really stepped up.”

Tarke’s effort on the glass, paired with the play of graduate student forward Chase Paar and junior forward Tyler Coleman, was big for Towson as it filled a void down low without Thompson in the first half. 

“They did a good job,” Towson coach Pat Skerry said. “They came in, they defended, they rebounded. They didn’t turn the ball over. We have confidence in those guys.”

Towson, which averages 12 turnovers per game, only lost the ball seven times against the Tribe. Even without Thompson, the team only turned the ball over twice in the first half. 

The Tigers entered the break down by one, 30-29. 

Paar and Coleman didn’t touch the court until the final 24 seconds because Thompson played the first 19:36 of the second half. 

Towson struggled to shoot the ball in the first half, going 11-for-32 from the floor. Towson’s offense started to click during the 25-3 run in over 10 minutes. The team finished the game shooting 11-for-23 from the field in the second half. 

Eventually, the teams started trading baskets. After allowing 18 points in the paint in the first half without Thompson, the Tribe scored only four points in the second half. 

The win came even as some of Towson’s top shooters, Tarke and sophomore guard Christian May, struggled from deep. The two combined to go 0-for-9 from the field.

Contributions on the bench from Williamson and junior forward Tomiwa Sulaiman aided Towson’s effort from beyond the arc. The two combined to go 5-for-7 from 3-point range. 

Towson will face UNCW, the third matchup of the season. Towson took the first meeting at home but lost the second meeting last weekend in Wilmington.

“They’re obviously a terrific team,” Skerry said. “I would consider them the gold standard at this level with terrific players, very well coached. I think the first thing will be we’ve got to make sure we take care of the basketball. For this team, that’s the number one thing.”

Jake Shindel has been a member of The Towerlight since the fall of 2020. He has served as a writer, associate editor, Editor-in-Chief, Sports Editor, and now Deputy Sports Editor. He has also held internships with The Daily Record and Baltimore Fishbowl, as well as PressBox Online, the Baltimore Blast, and Towson Sports Network.


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