By: Courtney Ott and Doug Ditto
Towson Men’s Basketball defeated Coppin State University 83-67 behind a balanced scoring attack.
Towson finished with a 52% field goal percentage while Coppin State finished with a 41% field goal percentage. The Tigers held a 38% three point field goal percentage and totaled 42 rebounds while the Bald Eagles could only manage 25.
“We’re really happy with the win…Our defense was pretty good and our rebounding was outstanding,” said Head Coach Pat Skerry.
Just over the 16 minute mark of the first half, Coppin State held a 11-5 lead over Towson. The Tigers struggled offensively with missed layups and field goals as well as giving the away-team multiple opportunities to steal.
Towson’s offense started to pick up their gameplay with a free point by Forward Cam Holden and a dunk by Forward Charles Thompson, cutting down Coppin State’s lead 11-7.
To tie the game at 11-11, Thompson drew a personal foul on Forward Luka Tekavcic under the basket which awarded him two foul shots.
Holden subsequently gave Towson the lead, 13-11, on the ensuing possession with a basket in the paint.
Towson’s defense began disrupting the passing lanes and forcing turnovers which allowed the Tigers to build a 22-11 lead with 11:26 remaining in the first half.
The early scoring was led by Thompson who posted 10 points and six rebounds in just his first nine minutes on the floor.
Towson went on a twelve-point run until Coppin State was able to break it, making the score 28-14. With three minutes left in the half, Towson was in the lead 36-23 after Guard Rahdir Hicks made a basket behind the three-point line.
Towson’s first half was highlighted by a 23-0 scoring run that began with just under 16 minutes remaining and did not end until the Bald Eagles made a three at the 8:01 mark.
Just before the half ended, Guard Sekou Sylla put the Tigers up 42-32 with two free shots. Sylla followed up his free throws with a driving layup to put Towson up by 10.
The Tigers took an eight point lead into the second half thanks in large part to their work inside the paint. The Tigers outrebounded the Bald Eagles 22-10 in the first half led by Thompson and they outscored Coppin State 28-16 in the paint. The Tigers contributed 15 points off the bench in the first half while holding the Bald Eagles bench scoreless.
The first half ended in Towson’s favor, 44-36. Thompson led the team in points and recorded 12 followed by Holden with nine. Thompson also led the team in rebounds with seven.
To start the second half, Guard Nicolas Timberlake put up two points with a jump shot, starting off hot 46-36. Just before a media timeout at the 16 minute mark, Towson’s lead increased to 51-39 as Holden took a wide open layup with a sharp pass from Timberlake.
To give Towson a 15 point lead, Guard Nygal Russell made a three and followed it with a layup on Towson’s next possession. With nine minutes remaining in the game, Sylla notched his fourth basket with a tough layup. Coppin State’s Guard Nendah Tarke responded with a layup of his own to cut the Tigers’ lead to 61-49.
The Bald Eagles were able to bring the Tigers’ lead down by 10, causing Skerry to call a timeout at the seven minute mark. After the timeout, Hicks found Russell in the corner on the ensuing possession for his third of four three-pointers on the evening.
Under back-court pressure, Towson was able to move the ball up the court giving Thompson another two points with five minutes remaining in the half. Coppin State was unable to convert on the following possession and Thompson went up hard to grab his tenth rebound of the night, giving him his first double-double of the season.
“He’s a key guy and we can keep him on the floor just because he plays so hard and he’s so strong and aggressive,” said Skerry. “He’s a game changer for us.”
With a little over one minute remaining in the half, Sylla recorded a three holding the lead 80-64. Guard Ryan Conway added his second three of the evening to give the Tigers 83 points on the night.
Thompson finished as the leading scorer and rebounder for the Tigers with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Timberlake and Holden each tallied five assists as the Tigers offense got multiple people involved.
The Tigers won 83-67 over the Bald Eagles to record their 5th straight win of the season, marking their best start in the program’s D1 history.
“We’re not quite where we have been and this has certainly helped us,” stated Skerry. “I think when we do that, guys like Sylla, Holden or Thompson, we become a hard team to play against …just the physicality of it can wear people down.”
The team will travel to Savannah, Georgia on Nov. 25 to play in the Hostilo Hoops Community Classic throughout the weekend as they look to continue their historic start.