After a disappointing road stretch that lasted nearly a month and a half went through 10 states, Towson State returned home last night and put on one of its best performances of the season.
Forward Chuck Lightening scored a career-high 34 points and guard Terrance Jacobs tied a career high with 29 points to go with a career-best 16 rebounds and six assists, helping the Tigers roll, 103-76 over Mount St. Mary's before 1,531 at the Towson Center.
The win avenged a 91-77 loss to the Mountaineers in the consolation game of last month's Beltway Classic. It was also the first time this season the Tigers have won back-to-back games.
Mount St. Mary's, which had won two straight, is 0-10 this season when playing on an opponent's home court.
The Tigers responded from an early 10-point deficit to run what was essentially a layup line against the Mountaineers. Towson hit 54.8 percent from the field in the second half, with Lightening making 11 of 14 shots after the break.
"I had been in a slump on the road, so it was just great to be back home," said Lightening, whose previous career high was 29 points against Syracuse last season. "It felt great in front of our home fans. We started off a little sluggish but got it together."
Towson led by 6-5 in the opening minutes, but Kevin Booth (27 points) and Anthony Carr combined for nine points during an 11-0 Mount run for a 16-6 lead.
A 3-minute, 18-second scoring drought by the Tigers ended when William Griffin converted a three-point play, starting a 21-6 run that put Towson up, 27-22. Mount St. Mary's closed to 27-25 after a three-pointer by Booth, but the Mountaineers could not handle the full-court pressure by the Tigers, who ended the half with a 17-4 run for a 44-29 halftime lead.
The Mountaineers shot 35.3 percent in the first half. Coach Jim Phelan left the bench after the opening minute after complaining of flu-like symptoms and saw the closing minutes of the half from the corner of the gym.
"I didn't see the good part -- when we were ahead," said Phelan, who missed a portion of a game because of sickness for the first time in his 38-year career. "What I saw at the end of the first half was [Towson] getting too much penetration and Jacobs getting all the offensive rebounds."
Jacobs had 10 rebounds in the first half -- nine on the offensive end. In comparison, Mount St. Mary's had seven offensive rebounds and six defensive rebounds in the half (the Mountaineers were out-rebounded, 32-20, in the half).
Phelan returned to the bench for the second half -- and may have wished he had stayed downstairs. He saw Lightening and Jacobs combine for 40 of Towson State's 46 points in the second half to help build a 90-66 lead on a layup by Jacobs (which followed his 13th offensive rebound) with 4:58 left.
Towson coach Terry Truax began clearing the bench, and the only challenge was whether the Tigers could break 100 points for VTC the first time this season. That was accomplished with 17 seconds left when Michael Locksley (seven points in four minutes) hit a three-pointer.
"Our preparation for the zone defense was very good," Truax said. "We weren't patient early. Our best approach is not to have Terrance and Chuck taking perimeter shots, which happened early."
MOUNT ST. MARY'S (5-14) -- Stull 0-7 4-4 4, Hall 3-9 0-0 8, Carr 6-14 0-1 12, Booth 10-21 3-6 27, Galvin 5-11 0-0 12, John 0-1 0-0 0, Hill 0-1 0-0 0, Watson 2-7 1-3 5, Nanni 3-3 0-0 6, Meakin 0-1 2-2 2. Totals: 29-75 10-16 76.
TOWSON STATE (6-11) -- Lightening 14-24 6-10 34, Brown 3-6 3-3 9, James 1-4 0-0 2, Jacobs 11-21 7-11 29, Valentine 1-2 0-0 2, Alexander 4-14 0-0 8, Caldwell 0-1 0-0 0, Mason 2-3 0-0 4, Campbell 3-5 0-0 6, Griffin 0-2 2-2 2, Manning 0-1 0-0 0, Locksley 2-3 2-2 7. Totals: 41-86 20-28 103.
Halftime--Towson State, 44-29. 3-point goals--MSM 8-22 (Booth 4-9, Hall 2-4, Galvin 2-8, Hill 0-1), Towson 1-4 (Locksley 1-1, Lightening 0-3). Rebounds--MSM 45 (Carr 12), Towson 56 (Jacobs 16. Assists--MSM 16 (Galvin 5), Towson 25 (James, Jacobs, Valentine 6). Total fouls--MSM 21, Towson 19. Fouled out--none. Technical fouls--none. A--1,531.