Hofstra (7-23) at Towson (17-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 2, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Towson Center (5.000) -- Towson, Maryland. Television: None. Home Record: Hofstra 6-9, Towson 5-5. Away Record: Hofstra 1-13, Towson 9-8. Neutral Record: Hofstra 0-1, Towson 3-0. Conference Record: Hofstra 4-13, Towson 12-5. Series Record: Hofstra leads, 36-20.
GAME NOTES: The Towson Tigers, playing their final game in the Towson Center, will seek to set the record for largest single-season turnaround in NCAA history on Saturday, as they entertain the Hofstra Pride in Colonial Athletic Association action.
Hofstra narrowly fell to Delaware on Wednesday night, their fifth loss in their last six games. Delaware and Hofstra will meet again next week as they will face each other in the quarterfinals of the CAA Championship on March 9. Hofstra will be the No. 7 seed in the tourney, while Delaware is the No. 2 seed.
By surviving an 85-81 overtime win versus George Mason on Tuesday night, the Tigers logged their third straight win. After going 1-31 last season, Towson, which has won seven of its last eight games, would own a 17.5-game turnaround from last year to this with a victory today. That would place the Tigers ahead of the 2002-03 Mercer team and the 2003-04 UTEP team that boasted 17-game turnarounds, the current NCAA record.
Saturday's bout marks the second meeting of the season between Hofstra and Towson, with the Tigers claiming a 57-50 verdict on Feb. 16 in Hempstead. The two squads have met 56 times previously, with Hofstra holding a 36-20 lead. Hofstra defeated Towson in the only meeting last season, 74-49, in Hempstead and had won seven straight in the series dating back to the 2007-08 season prior to the earlier meeting this year.
Hofstra sophomore Moussa Kone had a career-best 18 points, but Delaware rallied from a five-point halftime deficit to post narrow win on Wednesday night at the Mack Sports Complex. The Blue Hens pulled ahead late and then held off a rally in the final minute. Stevie Mejia finished with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Pride, while David Imes added 10 points and a team-best seven rebounds.
Buie leads the team with 12.7 ppg. Mejia continues to have a solid all-around senior campaign as he is second on the team with 11.5 ppg and first in both assists (123) and steals (60). Mejia actually ranks first in the CAA in steals and third in assists. Collectively, the Pride are the worst scoring team in the CAA, averaging just 58.4 ppg, and as a result they also have the worst scoring margin at -8.4, They are also last in field goal percentage (.381) and free throw percentage (.626). One bright spot is 3-point defense, as they lead the league in that category (.303).
Jerrelle Benimon scored a game-high 31 points as the Towson Tigers captured a four-point win in overtime win against George Mason at the Patriot Center the last time out. Benimon, who shot 10-of-14 from the floor, added seven rebounds and four assists. Marcus Damas finished with 23 points and nine rebounds, while Bilal Dixon pulled down a team-best 10 boards. The Tigers blew a 10- point halftime lead as a late 3-pointer by the Patriots forced the extra session.
Double-double machine Benimon (17.2 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.0 bpg) has been outstanding for the Tigers this season. The 6-foot-8 forward is tied nationally for the most double-doubles with 19. He leads the CAA and is fourth nationally in rebounding, while ranking in the top-three in the conference in blocked shots. Led by Benimon, the Tigers are the best rebounding team in the CAA (40.0 pg), as well as one of the 15-best in the country. Their field goal defense is also tops in the conference (.394). Damas (11.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg) is the only other player on the roster averaging in double figures. Jerome Hairston (9.7 ppg) and Mike Burwell (9.2 ppg) have hovered around that mark.
Towson's turnaround from last season is nothing short of amazing, and given their chance at history in their final game at the Towson Center, expect the Tigers to continue their special season and take down the struggling Pride.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Towson 70, Hofstra 60
03/02 10:59:43 ET