BALTIMORE, Md. – Towson senior Jerrelle Benimon scored 18 of his team-high 20 points in the second half to lead the Tigers to an 81-79 victory at Coppin State in both teams non-conference finale on Saturday night.
Towson, which won its first road game of the season, ends non-conference play with a 9-6 record. The nine non-conference wins are the most for the Tigers as a DI program and most since Towson won 13 non-league games as a DII school in 1977-78.
Benimon shook off a slow start in which he attempted just one field goal in the first half to finish with his sixth straight double-double. The senior had 20 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the field and 10-for-12 shooting from the free throw line. He added 12 rebounds, six assists and three steals to his stat line.
Senior Marcus Damas tallied 18 points, while sophomore Four McGlynn had 16 and senior Mike Burwell chipped in 11 along with a career-high nine rebounds.
Towson scored the first eight points of the game and a pair of free throws from Benimon put the Tigers up 15-2 at the 15:16 mark of the first half. Coppin State, which never led in the game, didn’t go away quietly. The home team scored 23 of the next 33 points to tie the game at 25-25 with less than five minutes remaining in the opening stanza.
The Tigers scored the next seven points, with the spurt capped by a three-pointer from freshman Marquis Marshall that put the road team up 35-28. Marshall had a career-high nine points, all in the first half. The Tigers led 37-31 at the intermission.
Towson led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but once again, the Eagles fought back. A 15-2 Coppin State run cut the Tiger lead to 57-56 with 8:09 remaining. However, the Eagles couldn’t get over the hump.
A traditional three-point play by Benimon put the Tigers up 75-70 with under two minutes to play. McGlynn and Benimon combined to make all six of Towson’s free throw attempts in the final minute to seal the win.
Michael Murray led the Eagles (4-10) with 21 points and Andre Armstrong added 17, including 4-for-11 shooting from behind the arc.
Towson shot 46.4 percent for the game and made 19 of 23 free throws (82.6 percent). The Tigers also made 10 three-pointers and held a 43-39 rebounding advantage.
Towson will begin Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play next Saturday at home against UNC Wilmington at 2 p.m. The Tigers have won 12 straight home games.