TOWSON, Md. - Freshman forward Krystal Pearson's three-point play with 21 seconds left broke a 56-56 tie and lifted the Towson University women's basketball team to a 61-57 win over Morgan State in its home opener on Tuesday night. The Tigers (2-0) won their home opener for the fourth time in the last five years.
"I'm proud of the kids for battling throughout the game," said Towson coach Joe Mathews. "We've played two close games so far this season and that really builds character. I thought it was great to see some different people step up and produce tonight."
Tied at 8-8, Morgan State (1-1) got back-to-back buckets to take a 12-8 lead with 12:43 to play in the first half. That proved to be the Lady Bears' largest lead of the game. Freshman guard Alliyah Berger connected on a three-pointer at 12:27 that jump started a 13-1 run by the Tigers. That run was capped by a free throw from senior forward Michelle Peebles at 6:41 which gave the home team a 21-13 lead. Sophomore forward Camille Alberson had four points for the Tigers during that stretch. A jumper from Alauna Jackson cut the Morgan State deficit to 24-21 with 3:23 to play in the half. The Tigers scored six of the final eight points in the half to take a 30-23 lead at the break. Peebles had four of the six points for the Tigers.
Towson shot 41.9% from the floor in the first half and 60% from the foul line. The Tigers got 10 first half points from junior guard Tanisha McTiller. Morgan State shot 30.3% from the field and 25% from the charity stripe.
The Tigers scored eight of the first 12 points in the second half to open up a 38-27 lead in the game with 14:46 to play. That was Towson's largest lead of the contest. Morgan State responded with a 9-0 run of its own to make it a 38-36 game with 12:54 remaining. Bianca Jarrett had five of the Bears' nine points during that run. The Tiger lead would fluctuate between three and five points over the next four minutes. A jumper from Peebles and lay-up from Alberson gave Towson a 50-43 lead with 4:44 to go in the game. The two teams traded baskets as a jumper from Jarrett pulled Morgan State to within two, 54-52 with 1:45 remaining. A pair of free throws from Tracey Carrington with 46 seconds left tied the game at 56-56.
Following a timeout by the Tigers, Pearson converted the three-point play to put the Tigers on top to stay. Morgan State hit a free throw with four seconds left but Alberson connected on a pair from the charity stripe with two seconds left to seal the victory.
Towson shot 50% from the floor in the second half and finished the game shooting 42.5%. The Tigers finished the game shooting 45.5% from the charity stripe. Towson won the battle on the boards for the second straight game with a 47-33 advantage.
McTiller and Alberson led the Tigers with 14 points each. McTiller added six rebounds and five assists while Alberson finished with eight rebounds and three steals. Peebles was the third Tiger in double figures with 11 points and five rebounds.
Jarrett led Morgan State with 17 points and five rebounds.
The Tigers are back in action on Tuesday, Nov. 20 when they travel to UMBC for a 5 p.m. game.