This time, the Towson men's basketball team got it right on the offensive end. It was the other end that was the problem.
Coming off a subpar shooting night in a loss to Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday, the Tigers couldn't get it done last night on the defensive end, as four James Madison players scored in double figures in the Dukes' 83-71 victory over the Tigers in a Colonial Athletic Association game at the Towson Center.
Junior forward Jerian Younger, who came into the game averaging 4.7 points a game, erupted for 23 points off the bench. David Fanning, the top scorer in the CAA, scored 15, Pat Mitchell added 12, and center Ian Caskill had 10 points and four blocks for the Dukes, who shot 53.4 percent from the field.
"It's not a personal attack on any of our players, but our team defense was atrocious," said Tigers coach Michael Hunt, whose team was out-rebounded, 41-34. "We got pounded on the boards. We gave up offensive rebounds on free throws. I am just very disappointed in our defensive effort."
The loss likely puts an end to the Tigers' quest to reach fifth or sixth place in the conference to avoid playing a first-round game in the CAA tournament on March 1.
Towson (9-17, 5-11 CAA) is now tied with Hofstra in last place of the CAA, and will close its season with conference road games against Drexel and Hofstra. James Madison improved to 13-12 overall, 6-10 in the conference.
Said Hunt: "This is obviously a setback. We have to come back with focus and intensity, and I expect us to do that."
The Tigers were led by their three seniors, who were honored before tip-off in their previous game at the Towson Center. Sam Sutton scored 18 points and had seven steals, while Mike Shin and Kerry Augustus contributed 11 points each.
Junior point guard Brian Allen scored 12 for Towson, but he committed eight of the Tigers' 15 turnovers. Hunt attributed that to fatigue and the Dukes' aggressive defense.
"We just wanted to throw something different at them," said Dukes coach Sherman Dillard of his trapping defense. "We had some moderate success with it, but I think we accomplished our goal of putting more pressure on the point guard and forcing him to give it up."
Trailing 56-49 after Younger scored five straight points, Sutton scored all six points, highlighted by an alley-oop finish off a Brian Allen feed, in a 6-0 Tigers run that gave them a 57-56 lead.
But it was short-lived as the Dukes would go on a 8-0 run, sparked by four points from Fanning, to take a 66-59 lead
The Tigers would get within six as Allen hit two free throws to make the score 75-69 with 1:24 left. But the Dukes drained six straight free throws to put Towson away and register their fifth straight victory over the Tigers.
JAMES MADISON - Broyles 1-4 0-0 3, Mitchell 6-8 1-2 13, Caskill 4-4 2-7 10, Fanning 4-12 6-6 15, Williams 1-2 2-2 4, Hatter 2-6 0-0 5, Younger 9-16 3-8 23, Freeman 1-1 0-0 2, Whitehead 3-5 2-2 8. Totals 31-58 16-27 83. TOWSON - Blanks 4-9 1-1 9, Sutton 9-17 0-0 18, Ausgustue 5-10 1-1 11, Shin 4-7 3-4 11, Allen 4-12 2-2 12, Weatherspoon 1-9 4-4 6, Goode 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 29-69 11-12 71. Halfime-JMU, 35-33. 3-point goals-JMU 5-15 (Younger 2-6, Broyles 1-2, Hatter 1-3, Fanning 1-4); Towson 2-12 (Allen 2-7, Weatherspoon 0-2, Sutton 0-3). Fouled out-Blanks. Rebounds-JMU 41 (Broyles, Caskill, whitehead 7); Towson 34 (Shin 7). Assists-JMU 23 (Broyles 6); Towson 19 (Allen 9). Total fouls-JMU 15; Towson 19. A-951.