TOWSON, Md. – Towson senior Jerrelle Benimon scored seven of his game-high 20 points in overtime to lead the Tigers to a thrilling 68-61 come-from-behind victory over College of Charleston on Saturday afternoon inside SECU Arena.
Towson, which has won four straight and nine of its last 11 games, improves to 16-8 overall and 7-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
Benimon, who has scored 20 or more points in eight of his last 11 games, shot 5-for-10 from the floor and made 10 of his season-high 17 free throw attempts. Senior Mike Burwell finished with 14 points and classmate Rafriel Guthrie chipped in 12 points to score in double figures for the seventh straight game.
With the game tied at 53-53 going into overtime, Benimon gave Towson a lead it never relinquished when he made two free throws with 4:17 remaining. Moments later, sophomore Timajh Parker-Rivera finished off a fast break with a slam dunk off a pass from Marcus Damas, giving the Tigers a 57-53 advantage.
College of Charleston freshman Canyon Barry pulled the Cougars to within 57-55 with a rebound and lay-up before Benimon reestablished Towson’s four-point advantage with his driving layup with 2:09 remaining. Anthony Stitt made one of two free throws to trim the lead to 59-56 before Benimon scored on a baseline layup to give Towson a 61-56 lead with 1:14 remaining.
After Nori Johnson missed a three-pointer, sophomore Four McGlynn was fouled with 51 seconds left. He made both free throws to give the Tigers a 63-56 advantage. Towson held on to win by making five of six free throws in the final 41 seconds.
In the overtime period, Benimon made both of his field goal attempts and three of four free throw attempts. As a team, the Tigers scored 15 overtime points while making all three field goal attempts. The Tigers were also 9-for-10 from the free throw line in the extra five minutes.
In a game that featured 10 ties and 10 lead changes, the Tigers had to rally from a 53-49 deficit in the final 2:15 of regulation to force overtime. A driving layup by Benimon with 2:00 remaining cut the lead to 53-51. The Tigers got a big break with 1:07 left in regulation when the Cougars were called for a backcourt violation. With 51 seconds left, Benimon was fouled but he missed both free throws.
With 38 seconds left, Stitt was fouled. He missed his one-and-one opportunity and Benimon grabbed the rebound. With 20 seconds remaining, Burwell nailed a 16-foot jumper to tie the game at 53-53. With the clock winding down, Nori Johnson missed a three-point field goal try and Damas grabbed the rebound. A long three-pointer by McGlynn just missed at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.
Barry led the Cougars (12-13, 4-6 CAA) with 14 points while Willis Hall scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Charleston made just three of 12 field goal attempts in overtime and shot 31.9 percent for the game.
The Cougars, who were just the fifth team all season to outrebound the Tigers (43-34), attempted 31 more shots in the game. However, CofC attempted just 18 free throws while Towson converted 30 of 44 from the free throw line.
Towson, which has won 17 of its last 18 home games, improves to 13-1 inside SECU Arena.
The Tigers, who are second in the CAA standings, return to action on Monday night at UNC Wilmington. Benimon will enter that game just 25 points shy of becoming the 24th player in a Towson uniform to score 1,000 points for his career. Tip time is set for 7 p.m.