Tigers' CAA Tourney Run Ends With Loss To George Mason
Courtesy: TBD  
Release: 03/08/2009
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Freshman Troy Franklin scored 10 points for the Tigers against George Mason.


RICHMOND, Va. - Towson’s storied run at the 2009 Colonial Athletic Association men’s championship basketball title ended in the semifinals on Sunday evening when defending champ and 2nd-seeded George Mason pulled ahead late to down the 11th-seeded Tigers 56-48 in the Richmond Coliseum..

The Tigers ended their season with a 12-22 record but had challenged for the league tournament title by beating 6th-seeded Drexel 72-63 in the first round and then knocking off 3rd-seeded Northeastern 58-54 in the quarterfinals. Towson became the lowest seed ever to advance to the semifinals in the history of the CAA tournament.

With the victory George Mason (22-9) will attempt to defend its title against Virginia Commonwealth Monday night.

“It’s a proud moment for our program,” said Tiger head coach Pat Kennedy. “Twelve teams started this tournament on Friday and today we were one of four still standing. I think we proved that we belonged in the semifinals.”

The Patriots were nursing a 49-48 lead when Calvin Lee’s basket was disallowed because of a questionable charging call with 2:20 remaining in the game. The Patriots then scored the final seven points that included a three-pointer by Cam Long that just beat the shot clock. That buzzer beater was the basket that followed Lee’s foul.

Despite George Mason’s 29-26 lead at the break the Tigers played the Patriots even in the opening 20 minutes.

The Tigers erased deficits of seven points to tie the score at 13-13 and later six points to knot the score at 22-22. Tony Durant’s short banker gave Towson a 24-22 lead at the 2:56 mark. Two Patriot baskets put GMU back on top 26-24. Robert Nwankwo tied the game for a third time on a breakaway dunk with 18 seconds left. But Dre Smith’s three-pointer that just beat the buzzer sent the Patriots into the lockeroom with a 29-26 advantage.

Towson shrugged off Smith’s trey and started the second half with a 6-0 run that put the Tigers out front 32-29. The Tigers eventually led by as many as six, 42-36. Mason rallied and finally reclaimed the lead on another Long three-pointer, 45-43 with 7:07 left in the game. Josh Thornton’s three-pointer with 4:01 left to play closed the gap to 49-48 but those were Towson’s last points of the game.

Thornton paced the Tigers with 15 points. Freshman guard Troy Franklin added 10 points. Darryl Monroe showed the way for GMU with 15 points. Long finished with 14 points.

In his final college game, Junior Hairston scored four points but had ten rebounds and four blocked shots.

The Patriots had a decided advantage on the boards, outrebounding the Tigers, 42-34. But the Tigers’ defense came up with nine steals and blocked 10 shots while holding the Patriots to 38 per cent shooting.

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