Towson Holds on in Second Half to Top Charleston

Timajh Parker-Rivera (15) recorded 12 points and 8 rebounds as Towson held on in the second half to knock off Charleston. (Source: Charleston Athletics)
Timajh Parker-Rivera (15) recorded 12 points and 8 rebounds as Towson held on in the second half to knock off Charleston. (Source: Charleston Athletics)

The 2014-15 season hasn’t gone quite as planned for both the Towson Tigers and the Charleston Cougars, as both teams have struggled at times this season, and conference play hasn’t been too kind to either team.

Last season, the Tigers had star forward Jerrelle Benimon to fall back on, and they did just that. Benimon was one of the best players in the country, and not having him on their roster this season has set the Tigers back a bit. Towson opened the season with a 7 – 1 record, with all of their wins coming via a seven game win streak. Since then, however, the wheels have fallen off. Entering Sunday’s action, the Tigers had only won four of their past 18 games, and were looking for a positive shift in momentum. Their game against the Cougars on Sunday provided them with the perfect opportunity to get back onto the right track.

As for Charleston, the 2014-15 season has been just as disappointing for them. They started the season with a 5 – 4 record, which included a three-game winning streak from December 2nd to 14th. Since then, their wheels have fallen off, and the Cougars have struggled to gain any sort of traction in CAA play. The Cougars entered Sunday afternoon’s game with the Tigers having lost 16 of their last 18 games, a stretch of play that has included losing streaks of 8 games and currently a mini two game streak. The Cougars had a great opportunity to score a win on Sunday against the struggling Tigers on their home floor.

In a game that features two teams who are searching for answers, the good thing is that one team will find a source of positive momentum. On Sunday, the Towson Tigers were that team. The Tigers held on down the stretch, and were able to come away with a hard-earned 53 – 50 win over the College of Charleston Cougars on Sunday.

The game opened with each team making a basket on their first possession, as Canyon Berry made a three for the Cougars and Eddie Keith II made a layup for the Tigers. Over the next three minutes, both teams were held off the scoreboard until Walter Foster broke the drought with a basket for Towson.

Out of the first media timeout, Towson went on a 7 – 0 run to stretch their lead to 11 – 3. Four McGlynn capped off the run with a three pointer which led to a Charleston timeout. The break was much needed for Charleston, as they came out of the timeout and proceeded to the game at 11 – all, thanks to a pair of three point jumpers and a layup from Terrance O’Donohue.

As the first half wore on, the teams would trade baskets, and alternate leads in the process. That was until Charleston went cold from the field, and Towson went on a run. At the 8:41 mark of the first half, O’Donohue made two free throws to give the Cougars a slim 17 – 16 lead. From there, Charleston would go ice cold on the offensive end, allowing the Tigers to seize control of the game for the time being.

Towson would go on an 11 – 0 run to take a ten point lead, at 27 – 17. Charleston would go just shy of seven minutes without an offensive basket before Adjehi Baru made a free throw at the 1:53 mark. The Cougars went on a mini 5 – 0 run to close out the first half within striking distance of the Tigers.

After the first 20 minutes of play, Towson held onto a 27 – 22 lead over the Cougars.

To open the second half, the Cougars came out playing with purpose. They were able to cut the lead down to a single point on several occasions in the opening minutes, but were unable to take a lead of their own.

That was until Joe Chealey took a pass from Glen Pierre, Jr, poured in a layup, and gave the Cougars a 34 – 33 lead with just under 14 minutes to play in the game. Canyon Berry would stretch the lead to three, but the duo of Timajh Parker-Rivera and John Davis would come right back and retake the lead for the Tigers, 38 – 36, with under 11 minutes left on the clock.

As the second half would down, the Tigers and the Cougars would trade leads. Towson would take a four-point lead, but Charleston would fight back to take a lead of their own. Chealey would add another layup to give the Cougars a 46 – 45 lead with just 2:02 on the clock, but they were unable to hold on in the closing minutes.

John Davis scored a layup of his own to give Towson a 47 – 46 lead with just 44 seconds to play, and the Cougars wouldn’t take another lead in the game. Timely free throw shooting from the Tigers was essential in the team’s win, and while the Cougars made late pushes on the offensive end, it was too little too late.

When the final buzzer went off, Towson escaped Charleston with a 53 – 50 win on Sunday afternoon.

Joe Chealey put his talents on display in this contest for the Cougars, scoring a game-high 13 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists in the loss. Canyon Berry added 11 points of his own, but the Cougars were unable to pick up the win on their home floor.

For the Towson Tigers, Timajh Parker-Rivera led the way with 12 points and 8 rebounds in the victory. Walter Foster (11 rebounds) and Mike Morsell (10 rebounds) had big performances on the glass, which made an impact in the win.

John Davis added in 8 points and 8 rebounds, while Four McGlynn added 9 points of his own to help lead the team to victory.

The loss to the Tigers was the third straight defeat for the College of Charleston Cougars (7 – 20, 2 – 12), and it resulted in a season-series sweep at the hands of Towson. While the Cougars have taken down the CAA co-leaders, in William & Mary, the team hasn’t been able to build off that win. They will keep on pushing through this season, trying to salvage what they can, when they take on the Elon Phoenix on Wednesday.

The win put an end to the three-game losing streak for the Towson Tigers (12 – 15, 5 – 9), and it showed the team that they can win the close games. They fell behind with just over two minutes left on Sunday, but battled back and came away with the win. This game will serve as a confidence booster if they find themselves in close games down the stretch in the regular season and the conference tournament. They will look to build off of this win in their next outing, which is Wednesday night against the Hofstra Pride.

– T.B.