By: Doug Ditto, Staff Writer and Da’Rell Johnson, Contributing Writer
In their final home game of the 2022-23 season, Towson University’s Men’s Basketball advanced to 19-11 after beating North Carolina A&T 87-75 on Saturday at SECU Arena.
The Tigers led for the entirety of their Senior Night match up against the Aggies.
Towson Head Coach Pat Skerry began the game featuring an all-senior lineup that jumped out with a 20-2 lead over the North Carolina at the under 16-minute timeout. The Tigers’ scoring run came in large part to several timely blocks and three-pointers in front of a raucous home crowd.
“We were just amped up, seven Seniors knowing this is our last home game and we wanted to make it a good game,” Guard Nicolas Timberlake said.
Towson’s lead was cut to 32-22 with just under eight minutes remaining in the first half. North Carolina Forward Duncan Powell brought the Aggies back contributing 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
Towson maintained their lead behind efficient three-point shooting. Towson shot 8-22 from three-point territory in the first half behind multiple triples from Senior Guards Nic Timberlake and Nygal Russell as well as two more from Guard Christian May.
Senior Forwards Charles Thompson and Sekou Sylla attacked the paint hard in the first half, with Thompson amassing 11 points and nine rebounds while Sylla added 11 points and seven boards. The Tigers led 45-28 with 4 minutes remaining in the first half
The Aggies end the half with a 7-0 run, Towson leads 48-35.
The Aggies immediately cut the Tigers’ lead to single digits to begin the second half. The Tigers attempted to sway momentum back in their favor as Guard Cam Holden soared for a monster putback slam on a missed three-pointer by Timberlake.
At the under-12 timeout, the Tigers led 59-53 thanks to back-to-back triples from Russell, who shot a 5-10 from three-point range.
Towson’s lead briefly reached double digits again behind two consecutive three-pointers from Timberlake but Aggies Guard Demetric Horton added his fourth triple of the night as well to bring the Aggies deficit to 70-63 with just over 7 minutes remaining.
The Aggies brought the game within two for the first time since 30 seconds into the game, but Timberlake responded with yet another three-pointer to give him another 20-point scoring performance and to extend the Tigers’ lead to 75-70 with just over four minutes remaining.
“[North Carolina’s Head Coach Phillip Shumpert] did a really good job changing defenses, he went to the bench for some guys he doesn’t normally play, a couple of those guys were not big on the scouting report and gave them a boost at the end of the half,” Skerry said.
Horton was able to connect on a deep three-point attempt to bring the Aggies back within six with 1:07 remaining. Timberlake added four points at the free throw line to ensure the victory for the Tigers and to place him in the top 10 leading scorers in Towson men’s basketball history.
Timberlake puts on a shooting clinic on senior night leading the Tigers with 26 points while shooting 54% from the arc on 11 attempts.Thompson follows up with a double-double, 15 points with an aggressive 17 boards, and five huge blocks, Towson had six blocks total.
“Kam Woods and them are really good guards, I just realized they were not trying to make plays for others, when going to the rim they are tunnel vision, once Nygal, Cam, or Nic stands them up it is an easy block,” Thompson said.
The Tigers will travel to Charleston on Thursday, Feb. 23 to take on the conference’s top-seeded Cougars at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports.
“Seeding or not seeding, all that stuff doesn’t matter,” Skerry said. “Thursday night we have a chance to play on national TV so we want to perform at a high level and worry about everything else from there.”
The Tigers will take on UNC-Wilmington on Saturday, Feb. 25 to conclude their regular season before preparing for the CAA tournament in Washington, D.C.