Towson holds off Drexel, 75-73

Posted: February 03, 2014

TOWSON, Md. - The showdown between the teams picked to finish one-two in the Colonial Athletic Association came down to the simplest of tasks here Saturday evening in a physical game.

"It became a foul-shooting contest," said Drexel coach Bruiser Flint.

And the Dragons lost that contest, falling, 75-73, to host and preseason favorite Towson at the SECU Arena in suburban Baltimore.

Flint noted that Towson (14-8, 5-2) hit 5 of 6 free throws during one late stretch while Drexel (11-10, 3-5) made just 1 of 5. There were 46 fouls called in the game and 59 free throws. The Dragons made 21 of 28 free throws while Towson was 26 of 31.

"They made free throws, and we didn't. We had to do the same thing and get the same calls" with drives to the basket, said Drexel guard Frantz Massenat. "It was definitely a head-to-head battle. The guys played well, but it just came down to the end of the game."

Jerrelle Benimon had 25 points and eight rebounds, and teammate Rafriel Guthrie added 18 off the bench for the Tigers, who hit 57.5 percent of their shots from the field. Marcus Damas added 16 points for Towson.

The Dragons were paced by Massenat with 18 points and five assists, while teammate Tavon Allen had 17 points off the bench. Kazembe Abif had 16 points and eight rebounds as a reserve, and Chris Fouch had 13 points but was just 3 of 13 from the field. Dartaye Ruffin had 10 rebounds for the Dragons, who won the battle of the boards, 32-27, and had just six turnovers but made only 40 percent of their field-goal tries.

Massenat moved into the top 10 on the all-time scoring list at Drexel and has 1,498 points. He was 9 of 13 from the line while Benimon was 9 of 11 and had 20 points in the second half.

Fouch made a three-pointer with 1 minute, 34 seconds left to cut the Towson lead to 67-64. A dunk by Benimon with 1:29 left made it 69-64, and he scored again on a drive to the basket with 42.1 seconds left to make it 71-67. Two free throws by Damas made it 73-68 with 19.2 seconds left to seal the win.

"This is just the second game we have had everybody back," said Flint, alluding to injuries to Allen and others. "We have to be ready to play. We have to make plays in the heat of the game. We really didn't do that."

Drexel was coming off a 77-74 win at Hofstra on Wednesday. The Dragons host UNC Wilmington on Monday.