NEWARK, Del. – Despite getting 29 points and 16 rebounds from senior forward Jerrelle Benimon, Towson couldn’t overcome a large halftime deficit and fell at Delaware, 83-76, on Saturday afternoon at the Bob Carpenter Center.
After winning five straight games, Towson (12-8, 3-2 Colonial Athletic Association) has now dropped two in a row. Delaware (14-7, 6-0 CAA) won its eighth straight contest and remains in first-place in the league standings.
Benimon, who registered his 13th double-double of the year and 33rd of his career early in the second half, shot 9-for-16 from the field and made 11 of his season-high 16 free throw attempts. He also blocked three shots while playing all 40 minutes for the second time in the last three games.
The All-American candidate led a furious second half comeback attempt by the Tigers, who trailed 40-25 at halftime. Towson scored 51 second half points, its most in a half against a Division I opponent this season. However, it wasn’t enough to overcome Delaware, which boasts the CAA’s top offensive attack.
Senior Devon Saddler netted a team-high 23 points on 8-for-20 shooting for the Blue Hens, who improve to 6-0 for the first time ever in the CAA. Junior Jarvis Threatt tallied 20 points for UD on 6-for-14 shooting from the field and 8-for-13 shooting from the free throw line.
Towson shot 53.1 percent in the second half and began to chip away at a 17-point deficit just a few minute into the final stanza. Senior Rafriel Guthrie hit a three-pointer at the 17:16 mark to spark an 11-1 Tiger run that cut the Blue Hen lead to 47-40.
On three different occasions Towson cut the Delaware lead to just four points, but the Tigers couldn’t get over the hump. A Benimon lay-up with 6:01 remaining brought Towson to within 67-63. On the next UD possession, the Hens missed two shots but grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds and Threatt converted a traditional three-point play to bump the lead back to seven.
With 2:26 remaining, the Tigers trailed by five at 76-71, but Saddler hit a dagger three late in the shot clock to all but seal the win.
Despite the superb second half shooting, the Tigers couldn’t overcome a 2-for-17 performance from beyond the arc. Sophomore Four McGlynn, who missed all five of his three-point attempts, failed to make a triple in a game for just the second time this season (Temple).
Senior Marcus Damas finished with 12 points, his 14th double figure scoring game of the season. Guthrie was also in double figures with 11 points on 5-for-9 shooting to go along with six rebounds in just 19 minutes. Guthrie, Damas and freshman Barrington Alston all fouled out in a game that featured a combined 59 fouls.
Towson held a dominant 50-33 rebounding edge, but the Tigers were hurt by 17 turnovers, including 13 in the first half. Delaware owned a 17-2 advantage in points off turnovers.
Towson returns home to SECU Arena on Monday to take on Hofstra at 7 p.m. The game can be seen live on Comcast SportsNet.
Game Notes: Benimon posted his 10th 20-point game of the season…Towson had its three-game road winning streak snapped…Delaware snapped a two-game losing streak against Towson…Delaware has won six straight at home…Devon Saddler tied a Delaware record with his seventh straight 20-point game…Towson shot 52.5 percent on two-point shots.