Depleted Towson overwhelms Navy in opener, 86-68


November 15, 2008|By Todd Karpovich | Todd Karpovich,Special to The Baltimore Sun

The Towson men's basketball team was playing short-handed in its season opener against Navy last night after three players were suspended for violating team rules. But after five years as coach of the Tigers, Pat Kennedy finally has the depth to overcome that type of adversity.

Josh Thornton tied a career-high with 24 points and the host Tigers displayed dominance on both ends of the court, building a lead of as many as 29 points in the second half, en route to an 86-68 victory.

Towson has been picked to finish 10th in the Colonial Athletic Association, but Kennedy is confident his team could challenge for one of the top spots.

"When we are at full force, we have 10, 11 12 guys who can play," Kennedy said. "I told the guys at the first meeting that whoever earns the minutes is going to get them. We're gonna have depth, we're gonna have experience, we're gonna have much more talent. But we have to do one thing: play to win. That's what I saw tonight."

Kennedy suspended the three players for their involvement in an incident at the student union Sept. 19. Tony Durant was kept out of the opener. Junior Hairston, the Tigers' top rebounder last season, was suspended three games, and freshman forward Rick Brown was suspended five games.

Navy played without two of four returning starters. Center Mark Veazey was out with a back injury, and guard Romeo Garcia has not played since mid-October because of an injured hamstring.

As a result, Navy had trouble getting set on offense, shooting just 27-for-72 (37.5 percent) One of the Midshipmen's strengths is their three-point shooting, but they shot 5-for-25 from beyond the arc.

Meanwhile, Towson shot 29-for-63 (46 percent) and scored 19 points off 18 forced turnovers.

Thornton hit four three-pointers and scored 14 points in the opening four minutes of the second half as Towson built a 55-32 lead. The Tigers continued to pile on points.

. "I'm trying to do more things because that is the only way we're going to win," Thornton said. "I know I can shoot." Towson performed better throughout the first half. Two free throws by Jarrel Smith, a Colorado State transfer, gave Towson its biggest lead, 29-15, with 3:58 left. Smith finished with 18 points.

Clif Colbert led Navy with 14 points

"They are a very skilled basketball team," Navy coach Billy Lange said. "They have a lot of guys who can shoot the ball."


MORGAN STATE 70, WILLIAM AND MARY 48:: Corin Adams tied her career high with 27 points and Erin Hawkins added 16 points in her Morgan State debut, to lead the Lady Bears (1-0) to a nonconference victory over the Tribe in the opening round of the North Carolina Asheville tournament. Morgan State, which led 42-24 at the break, used a 15-6 spurt to start the second half and extended to its largest lead at 57-30. Adams capped the run on a three-point play with 11:29 left. William and Mary (0-1) was led by Tiffany Benson, who tallied 16 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

Sun reporters contributed to this article.

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