Threes help Tigers end road skid

December 04, 2008|By Patrick Gutierrez | Patrick Gutierrez,patrick.gutierrez@baltsun.com

With UMBC looking to extend its nine-game home winning streak, Towson looked like the perfect foil, having lost 14 straight on the road.

But Junior Hairston and Josh Thornton had other ideas, and they combined for 32 points as the visiting Tigers rolled to an 82-65 win last night before an announced 3,087 at RAC arena.

Towson set a school record with 14 three-pointers while earning its first road win in more than a year.

"This was an extremely important game," Tigers coach Pat Kennedy said. "We had to prove to ourselves that we could win on the road."

Thornton, who came off the bench to lead all scorers with 21 points, was 5-for-10 from three-point range. He had 14 points at halftime as the Tigers quickly established control. Hairston added 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including 3-for-4 from behind the arc.

Thornton had the hot hand early, hitting two three-pointers as the teams traded leads five times. With the score tied at 17 and 10 minutes to play in the first half, Towson (4-3) reeled off nine straight points on a pair of three-pointers from Troy Franklin (Mount Carmel) and one from Hairston.

After UMBC scored twice to cut the lead to five, the Tigers rolled off the next six points on back-to-back threes, one from David Brewster and the other from Hairston. Towson took a seven-point lead into halftime.

"Josh played the best game he's played since he's been here, and Junior gets better every day," Kennedy said.

The second half was more of the same, as Towson opened with a 16-6 run behind two more three-pointers from Franklin to push the lead to 17. The Tigers expanded their lead to 22 with less than eight minutes to play after a steal and layup by Franklin, who finished with 15 points and nine assists.

UMBC (4-3) had trouble finding the basket, shooting 32.3 percent from the field and 18.8 percent from three-point range, as Towson frequently employed a 1-3-1 zone on defense. Chauncey Gilliam led the Retrievers with 17 points, while Daryl Proctor added 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Towson's 14 three-pointers broke the previous school record of 13, set in 1997 against Michigan and tied against Delaware last season. The Tigers had shot 13-for-59 (22 percent) from three-point range in their previous three games.

"When a team shoots 56 percent from three [point range], there's not much you can say," UMBC coach Randy Monroe said. "They can flat-out shoot the basketball."

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