Towson guard Gerald Weatherspoon knows the history between longtime conference rivals Towson and Delaware. He knows that the last time Towson swept the Blue Hens in a season series, he was 5 years old.
Until last night. Led by Weatherspoon's 14 points, the Tigers (9-15, 5-9 Colonial Athletic Association) held off Delaware, 61-57, to run their season-best winning streak to three and sweep the Blue Hens (10-14, 6-8 CAA) for the first time since the 1986-87 season.
Weatherspoon, who played much of the final 12 minutes with four fouls, sparked the Tigers with five points in 18 seconds that gave Towson the lead for good with less than three minutes remaining.
He sank a three-pointer with 2:31 to play and converted an offensive rebound with 2:13 left for a 58-54 lead.
The Tigers then held off Delaware with clutch rebounding and timely free-throw shooting. With 22 seconds left, freshman center Derrick Goode (Spalding) rebounded a Sam Sutton miss, was fouled and hit both free throws for a 60-57 lead.
At the other end, Vohn Hunter (16 points) missed a potential game-tying three-pointer with 8.8 seconds left and Kerry Augustus grabbed the rebound for Towson. He was fouled and made one free throw to put the game out of reach.
The Tigers are 8-1 this season in games decided by seven points or less.
In the earlier meeting this season, Towson rallied late to beat the Blue Hens for the first time in 13 tries. This time, the Tigers had to withstand a furious Delaware charge led by Mike Ames (20 points), the top three-point shooter in the CAA.
Ames, held scoreless in the first half, hit three three-pointers in a span of 2:40, the last giving Delaware its first lead at 50-49 with 5:45 remaining. The teams traded the lead over the next three minutes, before Weatherspoon commanded the floor.
For much of the first half, the Towson Center court resembled a carnival game where the ball doesn't quite fit through the rim.
Delaware missed its first 15 shots, finally scoring with 11:15 left in the half on a baseline jumper by Hunter. Towson had every chance to put the Blue Hens away early, but the Tigers had shooting problems of their own. Towson misfired on its first six shots and made just three of its first 15. With 7:49 left in the first half, the Tigers led by just three points against a team shooting 5 percent from the field (1-for-19).
"We had good looks, they had good looks," Towson coach Michael Hunt said. "It goes like that sometimes. I was proud that our team sustained our effort for 40 minutes."
The Tigers finally warmed up as Brian Allen (12 points) hit a pair of three-pointers to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead with 6:41 left in the half, and Towson held a 25-18 lead at the half.
DELAWARE-Hindenlang 0-2 0-0 0, Sessoms 1-7 2-2 4, Slattery 2-6 2-2 6, Ames 8-16 0-0 20, Rowland 2-5 1-1 5, Hunter 5-13 6-9 16, Wentt 2-2 1-2 5, Curry 0-0 0-0 0, Iversen 0-6 1-2 1. Totals 20-57 13-18 57. TOWSON-Blanks 1-4 2-2 4, Augustus 0-8 1-2 1, Shin 4-8 0-0 12, Sutton 6-14 0-0 13, Reaves 0-1 0-0 0, Weatherspoon 5-10 2-4 14, Goode 2-4 5-7 9, Dotson 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 21-59 12-18 61.
Halftime-Towson, 25-18. 3-point goals-Delaware 4-17 (Ames 4-9, Iversen 0-3, Hunter 0-3, Rowland 0-2); Towson 7-18 (Allen 4-8, Weatherspoon 2-5, Sutton 1-3, Reaves 0-1, Dotson 0-1). Fouled out-Blanks. Rebounds-Delaware 39 (Sessoms 8); Towson 43 (Shin 11). Assists-Delaware 10 (Slattery 4); Towson 13 (Allen 7). Total fouls-Delaware 16, Towson 17. A-1,005.