Tigers Become Road Warriors
Courtesy: Mat Schlissel, TowsonTigers.com  
Release: 01/17/2013

Towson came into this season having lost 23 straight road games, but after beating Delaware on Wednesday night, the Tigers have won four straigth road games or the first time since the 2005-06 season.

"For us the formula is what it needed to be," said Pat Skerry afer the game. "We weren't unbelievable on offense. We held them to 40 percent shooting, we guarded them from (the 3-point line) and we out-rebounded them. (Rafael) Guhtrie, (Bilal) Dixon was a major factor and Jerome (Hairston) make four big free throws when we needed him to."

Good teams can win on the road, and Towson is gelling into a pretty good ballclub at 4-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). Now the Tigers have to win at home where they are 1-3 on the season.

But this is a team used to being on the road, having played 14 of its 18 games away from home this season. And on Wednesday night at the Bob Carpenter Center, Towson took on a Delaware team that had won five straight.
Against Northeastern, Towson had just six combined points from the bench. On Wednesday, the Tigers were able to hang in the game and then win it late partially due to their bench. This is important, considering grad student Bilal Dixon was in foul trouble all night and played just 19 minutes with 10 points.

Guthrie, Walden, Flash and Parker-Rivera combined for 19 points off the bench.

"Playing nine guys really helped us tonight," said Skerry. "Jamel (Flash) is coming on. Kris (Walden) helped us and T.J. (Timajh Parker-Rivera) played well. Our depth is important. The way we want to defend and play physical, we can wear some people down."

Guthrie was all over the court on Wednesday night. He drew a charge on Devon Saddler in the second half, had a key steal that led to a traditional three-point play and hit the only 3-pointer by either team. (Towson shot 1-of-9.) But it was his defense, along with Marcus Damas', on Saddler (20.6 ppg average) and Jarvis Threatt that helped the win.

"We knew defense was going to win the game for us.," said Guthrie after the game. "We know shots won't always fall so we pride ourselves on playing defense. If we play defense, we can beat anybody."

If Guthrie has been the energizer off the bench, Damas has been the X factor. The junior wing averages 10.4 ppg this year. While his offense may be down (12.5 ppg last season), his defense and overall game is up.

"I'm perfectly fine with my role," said Damas. "We have a beast in Jerrelle (Benimon). Jerrelle's a great player. Everybody can score now. I just take it where I can get it."

Damas scored 13 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out two assists in 33 minutes Wednesday night. You can put in an argument that he's been the best defensive player in the league this year. Skerry usually asks him to defend the opponent's top scorer. On Wednesday, he held Saddler to 4-of-13 shooting. While he did end up scoring 16 points, Saddler also turned the ball over five times.

"We wanted to play length on Saddler and speed on Threatt," said Skerry. "We put Marcus and Mike (Burwell) on Saddler and (Guthrie) and (Walden) on Threatt. Our thing is to make them beat us with tough (two-point shots). Tonight we did enough defensively."

Saddler is one of the best players in the CAA, but Damas is one of the best defenders. Playing the likes of Otto Porter of Georgetown and Scootie Randall of Temple has prepared Damas for the top players in the league.

"I watched film on him," said Damas. "I just picked up all his tendencies. In order to win, I knew I had to make sure he shot badly. I had to make sure he got out of his comfort zone."

Towson hopes to start a home streak on Saturday when the Tigers meet James Madison at home at 12 p.m. at the Towson Center.

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