Rising to occasion

Senior guard C.C. Williams, the smallest player on the court at 6 feet, made the biggest play of the night for Towson.

His hands reaching above those of bigger, stronger players, Williams grabbed the game's final rebound with 3.5 seconds to play and put away the layup to cap a 58-57 comeback victory over visiting Georgia State last night.


"A couple big guys were trying for the ball, but me being a senior, there was no better time to do something," said Williams, who had 12 points, nine assists and two rebounds. "I was just thinking, 'I have to get this ball. I've got to hit this shot.' We'd lost two games on the road and there are just 12 or 13 games left in my career. I just thought, 'I've got to do something good for my team.' "

Neither team came into the game feeling it was sure to make something good happen. The Tigers, now 7-11 overall and 3-5 in the Colonial Athletic Association, were on a two-game losing streak and Georgia State (4-14, 1-7) had lost five straight, three of them by just two points.


And as the game inched toward the finish, solid defense and what Towson coach Pat Kennedy called "tight sneakers" took their toll on both teams.

"A lot of times when you have two struggling teams, players get a little tight," Georgia State coach Rod Barnes said. "I think both teams played like that toward the end. We had our opportunities. Both teams got good shots. Their team made one more than we did."

The Tigers started well, with sophomore guard Josh Thornton (18 points) hitting back-to-back three-pointers to give Towson an 8-3 lead. But the Tigers had trouble finding the basket with consistency, suffering two scoring droughts of more than four minutes each in the first 20 minutes.

They also were slow reacting to the ball, being outhustled for rebounds, 21-11, in the first half - a situation they remedied by winning the second-half board battle, 24-17.

Still the Panthers were able to build a 54-45 lead with 6:44 to play with the help of back-to-back three-pointers by Leonard Mendez (21 points).

At that point, none of the announced 1,260 at Towson Center would have been likely to assure a neighbor the Tigers would win. But the Tigers upped the pressure and went on an 11-3 run to set the stage for Williams, the inspired senior, who grabbed the rebound and scored the game-winner.

GEORGIA STATE - Chase 3-8 2-4 8, Billingslea 2-7 1-2 5, Goldston 4-8 1-2 11, Mendez 7-15 2-2 21, Jones 1-5 0-0 2, Mitchell 1-1 0-0 3, Ali 2-6 1-2 5, Lott 0-2 0-0 0, Dickerson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 21-54 7-12 57. TOWSON-Hairston 4-14 1-1 10, Pease 1-3 0-0 3, Durant 2-3 1-2 5, Williams 5-9 2-7 12, Thornton 7-11 0-1 18, Crossin 0-1 0-0 0, Coleman 2-5 3-5 8, Carr 0-0 0-0 0, Nwankwo 1-5 0-0 2. Totals 22-51 7-16 58. Halftime-Georgia State 41-33. 3-point goals-Georgia State 8-20 (Mendez 5-11, Goldston 2-4, Mitchell 1-1, Ali 0-1, Chase 0-1, Jones 0-2), Towson 7-17 (Thornton 4-7, Coleman 1-2, Hairston 1-3, Pease 1-3, Williams 0-1, Crossin 0-1). Rebounds-Georgia State 38 (Chase 13), Towson 35 (Durant, Hairston 7). Assists-Georgia State 13 (Jones 6), Towson 18 (Williams 9). Total fouls-Georgia State 16, Towson 9. A-1,260.