ATLANTA, Ga. - Towson rallied from 15 points down but couldn't hold off a late Georgia State counter attack as the Panthers won their eighth straight at home by downing the Tigers 70-61 in a Colonial Athletic Association matchup Saturday night.
The Tigers dropped to 3-8 and 0-2 in the league while the Panthers improved to 8-6 and 2-0 in the CAA. It was the 10th meeting between the two schools in a series that is now tied, 5-5.
Robert Nwankwo scored the game's first points on a layup to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead that was short-lived. The Panthers' Trae Goldston answered with back-to-back three-point baskets that sent Georgia State to the front for the rest of the half and early into the second session.
The Tigers had trouble finding the hoop, shooting 25 per cent (8 for 31) while the Panthers enjoyed the fruits of making 12 of 24 attempts in the opening 20 minutes.
GSU went on a 12-0 run midway in the first period to assume its largest lead, 25-10. The Tigers chiseled away at the deficit, climbing to within four on Isaiah Philmore's layup with 32 seconds left in the session. The Panthers took a 33-29 lead into the break.
The Tigers continued their rally at the outset of the second half. Nwankwo's two made free throws at the 14:58 mark finally erased Georgia State's lead and put the Tigers out front 40-39. There were four lead changes and four ties before Trey Hampton's two free throws put the Panthers on top for the remainder of the contest, 55-53. Josh Thornton hit a couple of three-pointers that cut GSU's lead to 60-59 but Hampton, who tallied a game and career high 22 points on 9-10 shooting, followed with one of many put backs.
The Tigers had to resort to fouling in the stretch, putting the Panthers on the free throw line where they made six straight attempts in the last 60 seconds for a 66-59 lead with 9.9 seconds remaining.
Towson shot a season low 33.9% (19-56) from the floor. The Tigers continued to struggle from the free throw line where they were 16 of 26.
Thornton led the Tigers with 14 points, netting 12 in the second half on four treys. Isaiah Philmore came off the bench to add a career high 11 points. Nwankwo, the CAA's leading rebounder and shot blocker, finished with eight boards and a career high seven blocks.
Towson is back on the court again Monday night when the Tigers host CAA pre-season favorite Old Dominion (9-5, 1-1) in the Towson Center. Opening tip is scheduled for 7:04 p.m.