TOWSON, Md. - A strong team effort, as five players scored in double figures, led the Tigers to a 65-58 win over James Madison in the Colonial Athletic Association opener for both teams. Towson (5-2, 1-0 CAA) earned just its third ever win in the all-time series with the Dukes (5-1, 0-1 CAA).
"This is a fantastic win for our team," said Towson Coach Joe Mathews. "That's a good basketball team (in James Madison) and our kids put together a strong effort to defend our home court."
The Tigers opened the first half on a 10-5 run as senior guard Deree Fooks and redshirt sophomore forward Nyree Williams had four points each during the run. The two teams continued to battle on both ends of the court over the next several minutes. Senior guard Krystin Fields hit a pair of free throws at 11:02 to give Towson an 18-10 edge; it was the Tigers' largest lead of the first half. James Madison would score 13 of the next 19 points to cut the Tigers lead to 24-23 with 7:10 to go in the half. The Tigers responded with a 5-2 run of their own to push the lead to 29-25 with 5:19 to play. Lauren Whitehurst connected on 1-of-2 at the charity stripe with 1:47 remaining to tie the game at 31-31. Fooks hit a jumper at 1:20 to send the Tigers into the break with a 33-31 advantage.
Towson shot 42.9% from the floor and made 9-of-10 foul shots in the first 20 minutes of play. James Madison shot just 33.3% from the floor in the first half.
Senior guard Sheree Ledbetter hit a pair of free throws at 16:51 of the second half to give the Tigers a 37-31 advantage. After the Dukes hit a pair of buckets, sophomore guard Tanisha McTiller hit a triple and a lay-up to make it a 42-35 game with 12:14 to play. Fields scored a lay-up at 9:04 to give Towson a 49-41 lead, tying their largest lead of the game. James Madison used a 13-5 run to tie the game at 54-54 with 2:39 to play. After a pair of free throws from senior guard Krystal Parnell put the home team up by two, Tarik Hislop hit a jumper to tie the game at 56-56 with 1:38 to play. The Tigers went 9-for-10 from the foul line in the final 1:20 to seal the 65-58 victory.
Towson shot 38.9% from the floor in the second half and 41.3% for the game. The Tigers shot 69.6% from the foul line in the second half and 75.8% for the game. James Madison shot 30.6% from the floor in the second half and 31.9% for the game. The Tigers held a 45-38 edge in the rebounding battle.
The Tigers were led by Fooks and Williams, who posted "double-double" performances in the game. Fooks finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds, for her first career "double-double" as a Tiger. Williams contributed 11 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. Parnell had 13 points, eight rebounds, three assists and four steals while McTiller had 12 points. Fields contributed 12 points and six rebounds.
James Madison got 14 points from Hislop while Whitehurst had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Towson is back in action on Wednesday, Dec. 7 when it travels to Coppin State for a 7 p.m. game.