A fired-up Towson Catholic defense limited Calvert Hall to five third-quarter points as the No. 13 Owls took control on the way to a 68-54 Catholic League victory.
The win improved the Owls to 15-10, 8-3 in the Catholic League. No. 14 Calvert Hall dropped to 12-8 and 6-5.
It was Towson Catholic's second straight MSA A Conference win, coming after a big win over No. 5 Walbrook earlier in the week, and raised the Owls' MSA mark to 3-5.
"We wanted to show that the win over Walbrook wasn't a fluke," said junior James Burrell, who led all scorers with 26 points on 11-for-17 shooting.
Trailing by 34-29 at halftime, the Owls, who had lost at Calvert Hall by six in the first meeting when they lost their composure in the late going, stepped up their full-court zone pressure after halftime and pulled even at 36 on a 17-foot jumper by Sharif Butler (17 points) midway in the quarter.
"Coach [Mike Daniel] told us we had to keep our minds on winning this time," said Burrell.
A tap-in by senior point guard Sydney Johnson (16 points) put Towson Catholic ahead to stay less than a minute later and six points in the final minute and a half of the third quarter provided a 46-39 lead after three quarters.
"We just didn't handle the pressure in the second half," said Cardinals coach Joe Baker. "We backed off."
The Owls allowed Calvert Hall just seven shots in the third quarter and finished with a 17-5 scoring edge in the period as Burrell scored eight, hitting all four of his field-goal attempts.
"We stepped up the defense in the second half," Daniel said. "We applied a little more pressure. We wanted to control the tempo of the game. Calvert Hall was running it their own way in the first half."
In a fast-paced first quarter that had five lead changes, Calvert Hall opened a 23-16 lead by scoring the last seven points in the final minute of the period. The last six came on a pair of three-pointers from Jeremy Baker, who had opened the Cardinals' scoring with another three-pointer.
Baker didn't get any other field goals after the first quarter. "We decided to take that away from him," Daniel said.
In the second quarter the Cardinals built a 29-20 lead less than three minutes into the period on a jumper by Greg Metrinko and a pair of inside baskets by Brian Matz. The Owls then ran off seven straight points to pull within a basket, 29-27, with just more than two minutes left in the half.
But the Cardinals finished with a flurry as Luther Alexander's short jumper in the lane provided a 34-29 halftime lead.
Chris Wilson led the Cardinals with 21 points. Alexander and Baker finished with 11 each.