A CAA Tournament Final matchup? Scouting Towson

I hope we can all agree that scheduling a basketball game on the same Sunday that the AFC and NFC championship games are being played is without question – ridiculous.

And if you’re going to schedule a game, why do it up against the Denver-New England, which could end up being the most non-Super Bowl watched game in history.

Jerrelle Benimon

Towson’s Jerrelle Beinmon last year against CofC.

I know two CofC alums that told me they were going to the game Sunday, but when they found out it was starting at 3:30 p.m., changed their minds and plan to stay home. This isn’t the fault of Towson or CofC. They did what the folks at NBCSN tell them to do. And I know that NBCSN needs programming, but this wasn’t well thought out.

Why not have the game at noon?

It’s too bad because this is an important early game in the CAA schedule and no one will notice.

Anyway, this could be a preview of the CAA championship game. Both teams figure to be in the mix come tournament time in Baltimore in early match.

This isn’t the same team Cougar fans watched in last year’s season opener. The Cougars probably played their best all-around game all season last year against Towson. It was a woodshed butt-kicking. The Cougars led by as many 33 points in the second half on their way to a 75-58 victory.

Jerrelle Benimon, the reigning CAA MVP, was about the only bright spot for Towson. He had 23 points and five rebounds. More on him later. The Cougars did an especially good job on Marcus Damas, who didn’t score a single point last year. The Tigers have added some talent to the lineup. Four McGlynn, a Vermont transfer, has 37 three-pointers this season and will be a factor.

Jerrelle Benimon II

Benimon is averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds a game.

Benimon is a beast. He’s a multi-skilled 6-8, 240-pound power forward. He can score, rebound and pass the ball. He has the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the hoop. He also is excellent in transition and can grab a rebound, lead the break and either finish or make the pass. He’s a match-up nightmare for teams at the this level.

It will be interesting to see who guards him. The most logical choice is going to be Ajdehi Baru, but after his performance against Northeastern’s Scott Eatherton, I’m not sure he’s up to the challenge. He could easily get into foul trouble. My guess is that Anthony Thomas will guard him some. Not sure that AT can handle him when he gets to the front of the rim, but he’s a good defender. David Wishon would struggle against his ability to put the ball on the floor.

 

Here’s a story in the Baltimore Sun about the impact the freshmen are having on the Tigers this season.

 

Here are some highlights from the Towson-UNC Wilmington game.

 

Towson at College of Charleston

When: Sunday, 3:30 p.m.

Where: TD Arena.

Series: CofC leads, 2-1.

Last meeting: CofC def. Towson, 75-58, on Nov. 9, 2012 in Charleston, S.C.

TV/Radio: NBCSN/WTMZ 910-AM

 

PROJECTED COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON STARTERS

Coach: Doug Wojcik, 34-19, in 2nd season at CofC; 174-111 overall in 9th season.

#22 Anthony Stitt, G, 6-1, 180, Jr. (10.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.2 apg, 34.6 min)

#2 Johnathan Burroughs-Cook, G, 6-1, 175, Fr. (1.9 ppg, 0.7 rpg, 0.4 apg, 7.8 min)

#3 Anthony Thomas, SF, 6-7, 207, Sr. (7.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.8 apg, 24.8 min)

#53 Willis Hall, F, 6-6, 235, Sr. (11.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 0.8 apg, 30.9 min)

#1 Adjehi Baru, F, 6-9, 225, Jr. (9.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.0 apg, 29.4 min)

 

PROJECTED TOWSON STARTERS

Coach: Pat Skerry, 30-51, in third year at Towson.

#23 Mike Burwell, G, 6-5, 205, Sr. (8.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.7 apg, 28.9 min)

#4 Four McGlynn, G, 6-2, 180, So. (9.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 0.9 apg, 25.6 min)

#1 Marcus Damas, F, 6-7, 210, Sr. (12.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.5 apg, 29.4 min)

#20 Jerrelle Benimon, F, 6-8, 245, Sr. (18.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 4.1 apg, 34.4 min)

#15 Timajh Parker-Rivera, F, 6-7, 215, So. (5.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.5 apg, 22.9 min)

 

 

Both teams rank No. 1 and No. 2 in field-goal percentage defense and rebounding – Towson (39.7% and 40.4 rpg) and CofC (40.4% and 38.2 rpg) respectively.

 

Towson Coach Pat Skerry served as an assistant coach at the College of Charleston from 2003-05 under former head coach Tom Herrion. During his time in Charleston, the Cougars compiled a 38-19 record.

 

Towson’s roster is loaded roster with four NCAA Division I transfers (one sitting out a transfer year in residency) including preseason CAA Player of the Year Jerrelle Benimon, a transfer from Georgetown, who is averaging a double-double with 18.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. Towson is a perfect 9-0 this season in games played at home, while just 2-5 away from SECU Arena. Four of its non-conference losses earlier this season were road trips to Villanova, Kansas, Oregon State and North Dakota State.

 

They Said It:

 

“(Jerrelle) Benimon is still a dominant player. Towson won one game in a 12-month period (in 2011-12) and last year, they turned it around (18-13 overall record in 2012-13). They have learned how to win and they expect to win. Towson has four seniors this year, so this is their team and this is their year. We expect a really tough matchup on Sunday.” – CofC Head Coach Doug Wojcik.

 

“All the credit has to go to Nori Johnson. How can you not give him credit? I think his shooting is contagious. When he makes a shot, our guys feel good about themselves and are chest bumping. (Anthony) Stitt is shooting the ball pretty well right now. Willis (Hall) shot the ball really well at Northeastern with four threes. I really have to give all of the credit to Nori Johnson. He’s made that big of a difference for us.” – Coach Wojcik on the team’s improved shooting percentages from the floor and from beyond the arc

 

“We’re starting to find a fluidity and a chemistry on offense. I would say guys are getting in the groove. I really think a key part of that is having been in this offensive scheme for two years and learning to play with each other really well. We were watching film from the Northeastern game the other day and there were times that we were finding guys on transition baskets, on kick-out threes, that we worked on in practice. When that chemistry and fluidity builds, it makes everything easier for everybody.” – CofC forward Willis Hall.

 

“Towson is a very different team from when we played them last year. We can’t think about last year’s game and the result. Yes, we played really well as a team, but they are a different team and we have to be ready to play them on Sunday. It will not be the same game.” – CofC Junior Forward Adjehi Baru.

 

 

APM

 

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