Tigers Down NJIT, 61-48
Courtesy: TBD  
Release: 11/24/2008
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Junior Hairston Scores 13 Points For Tigers
Courtesy:TBD


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TOWSON, Md. The Tigers ran their home winning streak to six but it wasn’t the work of art head coach Pat Kennedy would have liked as Towson beat NJIT 61-48 Monday night in the Towson Center.

Kennedy reshuffled his lineup to start the second half trying to put more distance between his Tigers and the Highlanders, who entered the game hungry for a win and suffering from the pangs of the nation’s longest losing streak, now extended to 36 consecutive losses. But the Highlanders (0-3) never really let the Tigers (3-1) out of their sight. Towson’s biggest lead all night was 13 points, achieved four times in the second half.

“We didn’t come to play tonight,” Kennedy said. “We got to snap out of it. We’ve got to get more mature quickly.”

NJIT led Towson early. It wasn’t until Brian Morris turnaround baseline jumper amid an 8-0 run put the Tigers on top, 11-10, at the 11:43 mark. Towson never looked back but the Highlanders didn’t let the Tigers get too far ahead. Towson’s largest lead in the opening period was nine points, 26-17. NJIT scored the last four points of the half to cut the Tigers’ lead to 26-21 at the break.

Brendon Lyn’s three-point basket to open the second half trimmed Towson’s lead to 26-24 but that’s as close as the Highlanders would get the rest of the way.

The biggest boost for Towson came from senior forward Junior Hairston who made his 2008-09 debut after sitting the bench with a three-game suspension to open season. Hairston, last year’s leading scorer and rebounder, celebrated his return with 13 points in 20 minutes of relief action. He scored seven straight Towson points to give the Tigers a 41-29 lead with 12:30 left in the game. Except for brief moments, Towson maintained a double-digit the rest of the way.

NJIT’s Gary Garris, the game’s high scorer with 23 points, kept the Highlanders in it with his three-point shooting. He hit three of his four treys in a row that narrowed the gap to 53-45 at the 5:28 mark. But Troy Franklin answered for Towson with a three-pointer to give Towson its double-digit lead right back.

The Highlanders milked the shot clock for every second on most possessions, hoping to slow down the game. The strategy worked in part as the Tigers were held to their lowest point total of the season thus far.

Calvin Lee matched Hairston for high game honors with 13 points and added a game high eight rebounds. Jarrel Smith, the Tigers’ leading scorer, was checked for 10 points.

Towson is back in action again this Friday night when the Tigers face the 23rd-ranked Villanova Wildcats in the Palestra as part of the Hoop Group Classic. The game will be carried back to Baltimore on WBAL (1090 AM) Radio. On Saturday night the Tigers meet either Penn State or Rhode Island. That game will be aired on WTMD (89.7 FM) Radio.


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