By: Jake Shindel, Sports Editor
The Towson Men’s Basketball team defeated Hofstra 68-47 behind 17 points from guard Nick Timberlake and 13 points from guard Cam Holden. Towson moved into third place in the CAA with the win. Holden scored his 1,000th career point in the win.
It was a strong defensive effort from both sides, with each recording six steals and six blocks. Towson struggled with ball control in the first half, having 10 turnovers through the first 20 minutes of the contest. The team improved in the second half, with only one turnover on the stat sheet.
“We took care of the ball in the second half,” Head Coach Pat Skerry said.
A free throw from guard Sekou Sylla opened the scoring for the game, but Hofstra went on a 7-0 run forcing a Towson timeout. Hofstra’s scoring continued, with the team putting up 11 points before Towson could make a field goal.
At the under-16 timeout, Hofstra held a 13-3 lead despite guard Aaron Estrada, the CAA points per game leader, only scoring two points. Towson turned the ball over four times in the first five minutes of the game, and made one field goal on five attempts.
Towson put together a 7-0 run and then forced a turnover to put the game at 13-10 with 12:23 remaining in the half. A driving layup as the shot clock expired by guard Ryan Conway cut Towson’s deficit to one, and a putback layup from Holden gave the Tigers a one-point lead. An and-one layup by Holden led to the under-12 timeout with Towson up 16-13.
Halfway through the first half, Holden and forward Charles Thompson recorded four points each for Towson, who had seven turnovers in the first ten minutes of the game. The defensive effort was there for Hofstra, who recorded four blocks and four steals in the first eleven minutes.
A steal from Thompson led to a dunk by guard Christian May, and the Tigers found themselves up 25-16 at the under-4 timeout. A Hofstra three-pointer after two loose ball fouls on Towson cut the lead to six points, but an offensive board and layup from guard Nygal Russell put the game at an eight-point differential with Towson leading 27-19 at the 1:26 mark.
The Tigers held a ten-point lead at halftime, leading 30-20. The Towson defense held Hofstra to seven points over the final 15:40. Towson ended the half on a 24-7 run behind Russell’s seven points and eight rebounds. On the defensive end, Towson recorded five blocks and three steals in the first half.
For Hofstra, Jaquan Carlos recorded seven points in the first half, while Estrada was held to just two points on 1/6 shooting. The team forced ten turnovers and recorded four blocks and five steals.
At the under-16 timeout, Towson held a 37-26 lead over Hofstra. A dish into the lane from Holden led to an emphatic dunk by Thompson to give Towson a 43-28 lead as Hofstra called a timeout.
Back-to-back Timberlake threes gave Towson a 21-point lead with 10 minutes left in the game. A jumper on the team’s next possession gave Towson a 54-31 lead on the heels of an 8-0 run by Timberlake.
“Kudos to them for finding me,” Timberlake said. “It’s kind of like, ‘Who’s hot’ and everyone knows at that point who’s getting the ball.”
At the under-4 timeout, Towson was up by 18. Timberlake’s 15 points over the first 16 minutes of the half kept the lead at a distance for Towson despite Estrada’s eight points in the half.
Towson won the game 68-47 and held Hofstra to their lowest point-total of the season, and the lowest scoring output in a CAA game for Hofstra since Feb. 13, 2013. The team also held Estrada to 10 points, tied for his second-lowest scoring output of the season.
“I thought our energy was better, close-outs were better, attention to detail was better,” Skerry said. “At the end of the day, defense is really about effort and concentration. We’re capable of doing it at a higher level, but for whatever reason I have not been able to get them to consistently do that.”
Towson hits the road for a two-game trip, playing at North Carolina A&T on Jan. 19 and then Elon on Jan. 21.