State men's hoops: Towson wins its CAA opener

Jerrelle Benimon had 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists and teammate Bilal Dixon added 14 points as Towson held off a charge by host UNC Wilmington for a 79-74 victory before an announced 3,331 on Wednesday night in the Colonial Athletic Association opener for both teams.

Towson (6-8, 1-0), which has never had a winning CAA record since joining the league in 2001, was aided by Mike Burwell's 13 points. Marcus Damas added 11 points for the Tigers, who made just six turnovers and had 46 points in the paint.

Freshman guard Craig Ponder had a game-high 23 points for UNC Wilmington (5-8, 0-1) while Keith Rendleman added 14points and 21 rebounds. Marcus Graham had 18 points for the hosts.

Towson, which led 44-28 at halftime, was up 59-44 with 11:03 left in the game, but UNC Wilmington had an 8-2 run that cut the lead to 61-52. A 7-0 run by the Seahawks cut the lead to 69-61 with 2:53 to go, and a 3-pointer by Tyree Graham trimmed the margin to 71-65 with 2:24 to play. Another 3 by Graham made it 72-68 with 59 seconds to go.

A free throw with 34 seconds left by Towson's Jerome Hairston made it 73-68. Burwell added two free throws with 24 seconds left that iced the game for Towson.

Towson was coming off an overtime win Saturday at Oregon State, the first win for the Tigers over a team from a Bowl Championship Series conference since 1995. Benimon had 20 points and 21 rebounds at Oregon State to earn CAA Player of the Week honors.

Akron 91, Coppin State 63: Troy Franklin scored a season-high 24 points in the Eagles' loss.

The host Zips (7-0) used three doubledoubles to beat Coppin State (3-12).

Nick Harney had 14points and 11 rebounds, Zeke Marshall added 13 points and 12 rebounds, and freshman Jake Kretzer finished with 14points and 12 rebounds.

IPFW 68, Navy 63: The host Mastodons (7-9) broke a two-game losing streak by holding off the Midshipmen (6-9).

The Mids, who lost their third consecutive game, took a brief lead on consecutive 3-pointers from Thurgood Wynn and Brandon Venturini before the Fort Wayne team scored 10straight points to take a 60-54 lead with 4:34 remaining.

The Mids closed to 60-58 on a 3-pointer from Venturini with 2:06 to go, but the Mastodons hit two baskets and made four free throws in the waning moments to secure the win.

Albany 65, UMBC 48: The visiting Retrievers (2-12, 0-1 America East) lost their seventh straight and the Great Danes (12-3, 1-0) won for the ninth time in 10 games, getting a combined 32 points from their starting backcourt.

Brett Roseboro and Ryan Cook each had 12points for UMBC.

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