By: Courtney Ott, Deputy Sports Editor
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Towson University Men’s Basketball soared past the University of Delaware, 86-60 in their first Colonial Athletic Association’s Men’s Basketball tournament game of this season.
In last season’s tournament, Delaware upset Towson 69-56 in the semi-finals.
“Our guys were ready to play tonight, and they defended and rebounded at a high level,” Head Coach Pat Skerry said.
Guard Nicolas Timberlake recorded 19 points, and the team finished at 60% shooting from the field. Towson out rebounded the Blue Hens by 18 boards, and Delaware finished 39% from the field.
“I love these guys. It’s been a real privilege to be around them, and you really want to see them shine to the best of their abilities,” Skerry said. “I don’t believe we’re done yet. 100% believe in this group. I believe they were ready, they set the tone all week, and it’s really why they all came back.”
The game’s first two points belonged to Guard Cam Holden, which started Towson’s five-point run. With just under 15 minutes left, Timberlake hit a 3-pointer to put the Tiger’s lead at 15-2.
At the 12-minute mark, Towson’s defense held Delaware to a shot clock violation, and Timberlake recorded two more on the next possession that increased the lead to 21-2. Towson held a 16-0 run over 4:10 while Delaware went through a scoring drought until Guard Jameer Nelson Jr. logged one foul shot.
Towson led 28-10 at the under-8 timeout. Nelson’s seven points kept Delaware in the game, while Timberlake had nine points in 13 minutes for the Tigers. Towson maintained their lead despite having no field goals in over 2:30 before the under-8 timeout.
A Delaware timeout was taken at the 5:38 mark after Holden laid it in for two underneath the basket to put the Tigers lead at 37-14. An and-one by Holden put Towson at 40 points.
Just before the halftime buzzer, Holden drove down the lane and scored. At halftime, Towson was in the lead, 46-20. The Tigers finished the first half shooting 66% from the field and 30% from behind the arc.
Timberlake led scorers with 11 points, followed closely behind by guard Sekou Sylla with 10 and Holden with nine. Delaware’s scorers were led by Nelson Jr., who had 10, but no other Blue Hen had logged more than three points. Guard Cavan Reilly’s three points were second on the team.
At the 17:07 mark of the second half, forward Charles Thompson slammed it home on a one-on-one and he received the and-one, putting Towson at 57-25. The Blue Hens went on an eight-point scoring run, but Thompson was able to break it with a foul shot and a layup.
With backcourt pressure, Towson was able to move the ball down the court to set up Guard Christian May for a dunk with 12 minutes remaining. In the span of less than a minute, Sylla recorded back-to-back layups at the 11-minute mark.
At the 7:06 mark, Timberlake just beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer that increased the Tigers’ lead to 77-48. Guard Rahdir Hicks followed with two points of his own from inside the paint. Just before the final buzzer, forward Chris Biekeu blocked a Blue Hen shot to end the game with a win at 86-60.
Tomorrow at 8:30 p.m., Towson will face the College of Charleston, whom Towson has fallen both times this season in close games.
“They’re a terrific team, so we’ll have to play at a really high level,” Skerry said. “I don’t believe we’ve played our best game against them yet, and I’m looking forward to doing that tomorrow night.”