Wi&M will have to wait until Saturday for another chance at a 20-win season. The loss left the Tribe with a 19-9 mark overall and an 11-6 record in the league. The Tigers improved to 8-20 and 5-12.
The Tribe tried to bury the Tigers under a three-point barrage. They made 14 of 36 attempts and several times threatened to pull ahead but clutch shooting by the Tigers kept W&M at bay. Towson was particularly sharp at the free throw line, making 18 of 20 tries. Franklin was 10 of 10 from the charity stripe. The Tigers shot 50 per cent from the field and were 9 of 20 from beyond the arc themselves.
"I thought we answered their runs very well tonight," said Tiger head coach Pat Kennedy. "The fact that we handled their runs was the key in the game for us."
After four ties and a lead change the Tigers went on a 9-1 run that put them on top 26-18 with 7:44 left in the opening period. Towson held the eight-point lead until the Tribe rallied. David Schneider's three-pointer with 21 seconds left sent the Tribe into the lockeroom with a 35-34 advantage.
It didn't take the Tigers long to regain the lead, 39-37, on RaShawn Polk's three-pointer. Towson extended its margin to 11, 57-46, at the 10:21 mark on two Nwankwo free throws. But the Tribe, determined to beat the Tigers from long range, stormed back to tie the score, 59-59, on Danny Sumner's triple. There was one more tie before a pair of Franklin free throws put Towson out front 64-62. The Tigers held the lead for the rest of the game.
Several minutes later the Tigers went up by nine, 76-67, on a Josh Thornton steal and breakaway dunk with 1:15 left to play.
In panic mode the Tribe began launching three-pointers. Schneider shot the Tribe back into it. In a matter of five seconds he hit two treys, one off an inbounds theft, that narrowed Towson's lead from nine, 76-67, to three, 76-73. But Franklin put on his own show, sinking four free throws and scoring on a layup to return the Tigers to their nine-point lead, 82-73, and seal the victory with 27 seconds remaining.
Franklin, who chipped in seven assists and two steals, scored 13 of his game high 27 points in the final seven minutes of the contest.
Nwankwo finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season. Thornton added 14 points. Polk finished with 12 points as Towson scored a season high 83 points in the victory.
Schneider paced the Tribe with 22 points.
The Tigers host CAA rival Delaware in the Towson Center this Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. in the regular season finale. In addition to honoring their seniors, the Tigers will recognize members of the 1990 NCAA Tournament team. Former Tiger football player Jermon Bushrod, the starting left offensive tackle for the World Champion New Orleans Saints, will also be on hand and available for autographs.