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Tigers scrap past Charleston to win OT thriller

By: Desmond Boyle

Deshaun Morman had his best performance since the start of CAA play, scoring 16 points in a victory over College of Charleston.

They’re hitting their stride now. After a rough start to open up conference play the Towson Tigers men’s basketball team earned their fifth-straight CAA victory as they took down a tough and resilient College of Charleston squad 83-77 in a thrilling overtime game on Thursday night at SECU arena.

Three early buckets inside from William Adolo Moto helped the Tigers take an 8-5 lead inside of four minutes as the senior forward continued to demand the ball from is teammates. Adolo Moto’s production on offense and Towson’s tight man to man defense helped the Tigers stay on top of the Cougars early on. He finished the game with a game-high 20 points to go with nine rebounds.

Charleston forward Chevez Goodwin made a tough layup while getting fouled to level the game at 13 before missing the ensuing foul shot. Deshaun Mormon then converted on an and-one to restore Towson’s lead midway through the first half. Mormon’s three-point play sparked a personal scoring run where he scored each of Towson’s next seven points as both teams battled for the lead in a close and defensive first half.

Freshman guard Grant Riller knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Cougars a one-point lead with three to play in the first half. John Davis, who scored his 1,000th point for the Tigers in their last game, quickly gave Towson the lead with a contested jump shot. Eddie Keith III hit a deep 3-pointer to give Towson a 34-32 lead going into the break.

The Tigers were able to create more open shooting chances in the opening thirty minutes but failed to connect on mid to deep range jumpers. Towson’s foul trouble also let the Cougars stay in the game as the Tigers gave up 11 foul shots, eight of which Charleston converted.

Riller was the leading scorer for either team and the only player to put up double-digit points in the first half with 11.

Adolo Moto quickly scored his eleventh point with a layup to open the second half. Junior guard then gave Charleston a one-point lead after he converted a four-point play by knocking down a 3-pointer while being fouled and converting from the line.

The second half featured a consistent physical play with hard fouls and feisty fights for rebounds as the teams often remained within a point or two of each other. A 3-pointer from Joe Chealey and two layups from Marquise Pointer sparked a 9-0 run from Charleston which gave them a 52-44 lead with just under 12 minutes to play.

The Tigers showed their resiliency after the Cougars scoring streak. Head Coach Pat Skerry said, “I give our kids a lot of credit, on a night where we didn’t guard like Towson normally guards, we didn’t buckle.”

Towson went on a nine point run of their own as Davis converted an and-one to keep the Tigers within three with nine minutes to play Morman knocked down a jumper to put the Tigers up one.

It was pretty much madness in the last three minutes of regulation as both teams fought for the victory. Riller made two free throws with two minutes to play to put the Cougars up three. Morman then missed a 3-pointer and Riller drilled a triple of his own as the shot clock expired to extend Charleston’s lead to six. After Adolo Moto knocked down four straight foul shots, the Tigers trailed by just two with thirty seconds to play. Starr then knocked down a clutch 3-pointer to give Towson the lead with just 21 seconds to play. After a foul from Morman, Chealey went to the line with a chance to win the game but only connected on one foul shot. In transition after the rebound, Adolo Moto missed a layup before Charleston pushed for a last second shot but the ball went out of play with a second to go.

Towson opened the overtime period with four straight foul shots before Charleston pulled to within two. Johnson then went to the line with two minutes left and a chance to tie the game. SECU then amped up the noise and Johnson missed both foul shots before Davis effectively sealed the win with a jump shot.

Davis and Morman connected on free throws down the stretch to put the game to bed and extend Towson’s winning streak to five.

Davis finished second on the team in scoring behind Adala Moto with 18 points and also grabbing nine rebounds. Morman scored 16 points. Starr had 13 in the game.

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Desmond Boyle

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