Towson 76, Hofstra 58

Towson's Marcus Damas gets the loose ball as Hofstra's Chris Jenkins dives for the ball in the first half. (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun / January 27, 2014)

A pair of 3-pointers by Towson guard Four McGlynn in the opening minutes against Hofstra proved to be a good omen for the Tigers on Monday night.

Towson entered the game on a two-game losing streak mainly because of its struggles beyond the arc. The Tigers showed much more confidence with their outside shooting and turned up the pressure on defense, cruising to a 76-58 victory over the Pride before an announced 2,328 at SECU Arena.

“I think I've been in a shooting slump lately, so I know personally it was good to get myself going,” McGlynn said.

“Also, I think it was good for the team. We started the game with three or four straight stops. It was really good to convert baskets early because we've been spotting teams points early, making it hard on ourselves to come back.”

Senior Marcus Damas, who had 15 points, was one of five Towson players to score in double figures and he also became the 23rd player in program history to score 1,000 career points.

“It was mentioned to me. I didn't even know about it,” Damas said about the milestone. “We had bigger things ahead of us. I was just focusing on the big matchup tonight.”

With the victory, the Tigers remained tied with William & Mary for second place in the Colonial Athletic Association behind Delaware, which remains undefeated in the conference.

Mike Burwell had 17 points, while Rafriel Guthrie came off the bench and finished with 14 points for Towson (13-8 overall. 4-2 CAA). McGlynn was 3-for-3 from 3-point range for 11 points and Jerrelle Benimon added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers.

Benimon has 14 doubledoubles, which is tied for the best in the NCAA with Northeastern's Scott Eatherton.

Zeke Upshaw finished with 20 points and Dion Nesmith had 15 for the Pride (7-14, 3-3).

“I thought Burwell was sensational tonight,” Towson coach Pat Skerry said. “He really set the tone. We got to do a better job finding McGlynn late in the game. We need to find him for shots. He's a weapon.”

After making just 9 of 43 3-point attempts in their previous two games, the Tigers made 5 of 9 (55.6 percent) against the Pride.

After trailing by 10 points to open the game, Hofstra pulled within 23-20 on a jumper by Chris Jenkins with 7:50 remaining in the first half. Towson, however, responded with a 13-0 run to regain momentum, led by Damas with five points. After Burrell hit a 3-pointer with just over a minute left, Nesmith responded for Hofstra with a layup and the Tigers led 40-29 at the break.

“They did a really good job driving the ball,” Skerry said. “We think we have good shooters. We just have to take good shots. We do have an ability to drive it and get to the foul line and get on the glass. We don't want to get away from that.”

Towson shot 12-25 (48 percent) in the first half and outrebounded Hofstra, 25-14. The Tigers' bench also outscored the Pride 12-2.

An uncontested layup by Moussa Kone with 16:57 left in the game cut Towson's margin to 46-38, forcing Skerry to call a timeout. The Tigers recovered and six consecutive points by Benimon pushed the lead back to 55-42 with 13:06 left in the game.

Each time Hoftsra managed to convert a field goal, Towson had an answer on the other end to maintain a double-digit lead. A layup by Burwell with 5:16 left gave the Tigers a 69-52 lead and they cruised the rest of the way.