After Monday night's win over Loyola at the buzzer, Towson State coach Terry Truax was concerned about how his team would respond in last night's game against Hofstra. With sole possession of third place in the East Coast Conference on the line, Towson's response was more than impressive.
The Tigers scored the game's first 15 points and shot 69.2 percent from the field in the first half (58.8 percent for the game), and then had enough to hold off Hofstra and its hot-shooting guard Demetrius Dudley in an 80-70 win before 1,012 at the Towson Center.
The win was Towson's ninth in a row over Hofstra (11-7, 3-2), which lost its second straight. The Tigers (8-11, 4-1) now trail Rider and the UMBC in the ECC.
Towson shot a season-high 58.8 percent from the field with its big two of Chuck Lightening (26 points) and Terrance Jacobs (23 points) combining for 19 of 29 from the field. The Tigers' shooting helped offset a sizzling performance by Dudley, who scored a career-high 37 points -- 29 coming in the second half when he hit eight of 15 from the court, including four
"That guy can really shoot," Truax said of Dudley, a transfer from St. Peter's. "He caused us all kind of problems because of his play off the dribble."
But he was nowhere to be found in the first five minutes, when the game was really won as the Tigers went on a 15-0 run. Towson hit seven of nine during that run. By halftime Towson led 40-31, behind 69.2 percent shooting. "That's phenomenal, that's record for us," Truax said of his team's shooting. "We should have stopped the game and given everybody a game ball."
But the game wasn't over, and it was Dudley's shooting that helped Hofstra close to 50-47 -- after his short jumper with 11:54 left. Fortunately for Towson, Dudley was getting no support in the second half. He shot 8-for-15, but his teammates were a miserable 2-for-13. And that spelled a Towson victory.
"They're a good team," said Lightening, who hit 10 of his 16
shots. "It's not easy to keep a team like that down all game."
But the Tigers were able to keep them down when they had to, and the result was the team's fifth straight win. After a slow start to the season that included 10 straight road games, Towson appears to be hitting its groove.
"I think our guys realize we have to come out every game and be fired up," Jacobs said. "We don't think our season's over yet. We have it in our minds that we can still play in the [National Invitation Tournament]."
Truax isn't thinking that far along, but he may have to if his team shoots the way it started the game last night.
"There's no explanation, our kids were really focused," Truax said. "It's just a compliment to our team to come out like that, especially after a tough game at Loyola."