Hairston leads Tigers' charge

Towson 77 Northeastern 71

Towson basketball

January 03, 2008|By Todd Karpovich | Todd Karpovich,Special to The Sun

Towson forward Junior Hairston gathered his team before last night's Colonial Athletic Association home opener against Northeastern and told the Tigers that if they played hard for 40 minutes, there was no way they would lose.

Hairston then set the tone with a dominant performance by scoring a team-high 25 points and blocking three shots to lead the Tigers to a 77-71 victory.

Senior Jonathan Pease added 20 points for the Tigers, who won for the second time in their past seven games.

"I told [the players] to play hard and have fun, just like every game," Hairston said. "If we come out and play hard, I don't see us losing. This is a great win to start the new year. This is what we needed to show we can play."

Both teams came into the game at 4-7 and 0-1 in conference play. The Huskies, however, played a tougher nonconference schedule with games against Connecticut, Syracuse, Illinois, Boston College and Maryland. Northeastern nearly upset the Terps before falling in overtime and lost by two points to Boston College.

The Tigers were the dominant team last night, holding the Huskies to 39.3 percent shooting in the first half. Hairston led the charge for Towson, scoring 14 of his points in the first half, and Pease scored 13 to help the Tigers get a 39-33 lead at the half.

"I know that good shooters always keep shooting the ball," Pease said. "Being a streaky shooter like I am, if I can get one, then I can get another two or three."

Towson guard Josh Thornton made his second straight start and provided a spark with 13 points. Thornton, a transfer from Georgetown, was not eligible to play until the Tigers' game against Lafayette on Dec. 19, but coach Pat Kennedy has not been hesitant to make him a regular part of the rotation.

"He is still learning our defenses," Kennedy said. "When he was coming back, he did not get a chance to play a lot with the first group. Now, he has gotten better with every single game."

NORTHEASTERN-Spates 4-7 2-2 13, Adako 12-16 4-5 28, Ojougboh 4-10 7-8 15, Allen 2-5 5-6 9, Janning 3-12 0-1 6, Alvarez 0-1 0-0 0, Gunterberg 0-1 0-0 0, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Bataille 0-3 0-0 0, Aragbaye 0-0 0-0 0, Washington 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-56 18-22 71. TOWSON-Hairston 8-13 7-7 25, Pease 8-11 0-0 20, Williams 1-6 4-6 6, Carr 1-5 0-0 2, Thornton 5-7 0-0 13, Crossin 1-2 0-0 3, Coleman 1-3 0-3 2, Nwankwo 0-0 0-0 0, Raboin 0-1 0-0 0, Durant 2-6 2-2 6. Totals 27-54 13-18 77. Half-Towson 39-33. 3-point goals-Northeastern 3-11 (Spates 3-5, Bataille 0-1, Gunterberg 0-1, Allen 0-1, Janning 0-3), Towson 10-25 (Pease 4-7, Thornton 3-5, Hairston 2-3, Crossin 1-2, Coleman 0-1, Williams 0-3, Carr 0-4). Rebounds-Northeastern 39 (Ojougboh 11), Towson 27 (Hairston 8). Assists-Northeastern 17 (Allen 6), Towson 18 (Williams 5). Total fouls-Northeastern 15, Towson 15. A-1,165.

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