RICHMOND, Va. - In a scene that was all too familiar, Towson's 2010-11 season came to an abrupt end Friday afternoon when Drexel survived a late rally to deal the Tigers a 75-69 setback in the opening round of the 2011 Virginia 529 College Savings Plan Colonial Athletic Association Men's Basketball Championship at the Richmond Coliseum.
The Tigers closed out their campaign with a 4-26 record that included a season-ending 19-game losing streak. Thirteen of Towson's losses for the season were by six points or less.
The 5th-seeded Dragons, who beat the 12th-seeded Tigers for the third time this year and the second time in the last six days, improved to 21-9, advancing to the quarterfinals where they'll face Virginia Commonwealth tomorrow afternoon.
Towson was hoping that history might repeat itself. The Tigers had won their opening round tournament game the last four years but this time it was too much Samme Givens, Drexel's junior forward who scored 18 of his game high 22 points in the second half. The Dragons broke from a 28-28 halftime, shooting 65 per cent from the floor in the final session. Eight minutes into the second half Drexel had its largest lead of the game, 48-35.
The Tigers were hot too in the second half, shooting 53 per cent after a 32 per cent first half. They clawed their way back on a 14-4 run, closing to within two points, 64-62 on RaShawn Polk's three-pointer with 3:15 left to play.
But Drexel's Gerald Colds answered less than a minute later. Towson would get no closer than three, 72-69, on a pair of Dre Conner free throws with 43 second remaining. The Tigers would miss their last three shots from the floor of the contest.
"We were in a position to win the game," said Kennedy, "but once again it came to the last possession or two."
Towson had to resort to the foul. Drexel didn't have one of its better nights at the free throw line (19 of 33) but the Dragons drained them in the clutch, sinking three of four attempts in the final 33 seconds to preserve the victory.
The Dragons dominated the boards, outrebounding the Tigers 43-26 with Givens collecting a game high 14.
"Rebounding hurt us tonight," said Tiger coach Pat Kennedy. "They rebound very well off the offensive glass with their size and putting the ball back again, it gave them a lot of chances."
The first half ended in a 28-28 tie after Towson led by as many as four points (11-7) and Drexel by as many as eight points (20-12). A 13-1 scoring run gave the Dragons their 20-12 lead, but Towson responded with a 14-3 burst, including five points each by Polk and Connor.
Four Towson players scored in double figures led by Josh Brown's 18 points. Conner had 14 off the bench. Isaiah Philmore and Polk each had 13. Braxton Dupree led the Tigers' effort off the boards with 12 rebounds.
The game was last in a Tiger uniform for seniors Brown, Brian Morris and Danny Quinn.