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Towson men’s basketball rides Brian Fobbs, hot start to 89-73 rout of Drexel

Brian Fobbs might be sad that the Towson men’s basketball program is scheduled to face Drexel only one more time this season. As for the Dragons, the feeling probably isn’t mutual.

Fobbs erupted for a game-high 28 points, and the Tigers raced to a 16-7 lead in the first 7:17 of the game and never trailed in a 89-73 thrashing of Drexel before an announced 1,123 at SECU Arena on Thursday night.

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Sophomore guard Allen Betrand scored a career-best 23 points in his impression of Robin to Fobbs’ Batman to help Towson improve to 8-9 overall and 2-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association. The team has won two consecutive league games since opening CAA play with three straight losses.

Fobbs was the catalyst for the Tigers, scoring 14 points in each half on 11-for-16 shooting (including 4-for-9 from behind the 3-point line), collecting three rebounds, and recording three assists. The senior guard has scored at least 20 points in three career games against Drexel, but downplayed his history against a league foe.

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“I don’t know,” he said with a chuckle. “I just keep playing, I guess.”

Fobbs recorded his first 20-point outing against a CAA opponent after averaging just nine points in the first three losses to Northeastern, Hofstra and Charleston. He insisted though that his mindset has not changed in back-to-back wins against UNC-Wilmington and now the Dragons.

“Just keep being aggressive,” he said. “Keep shooting the ball. Don’t worry if you miss or make it. Just keep moving to the next play. That’s what I did tonight.”

Betrand said Fobbs set the tone for the rest of the team in the first half when he powered Towson to a 47-25 advantage at halftime — the program’s fourth lead of at least 19 points at the break in five home games against Drexel.

“He’s a scoring bucket,” Betrand said. “Anytime he can get off to a hot start like that, we’re going to win games, and I just try to add in where I can.”

Betrand scored 11 points in the first half, but acknowledged trying to shoulder more of the scoring burden in the second half after the Dragons made some defensive adjustments.

“I saw all the attention was on him,” said Betrand, who has averaged 18.2 points in five league games. “So I came in and do what I do — shoot threes, make shots, get to the basket, play my game basically.”

Fobbs said he wasn’t surprised by Betrand’s performance, which included three assists.

“He’s a dog,” Fobbs said. “He’s always going to be aggressive. He’s a killer. So he’s going to do that.”

Nakiye Sanders, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound redshirt senior forward, led the Tigers in rebounds with seven and assists with five (a career high), and coach Pat Skerry pointed out that the team will continue to rely on Fobbs, Betrand and Sanders to initiate the offense and anchor the defense.

“I think we’ve got to play through a couple of the guys more, and that means the responsibility is on those guys,” he said, pointing to Fobbs and Betrand flanking him during the postgame conference. “Tonight, they delivered, but they have to continue to deliver for us by making good decisions, taking good shots, and making sure the ball moves. I thought they really both did that at a high level tonight.”

Sophomore guard Camren Wynter paced the Dragons (9-8, 2-2) with 22 points and three rebounds, and sophomore guard Coletrane Washington chipped in 17 points and three assists.

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Notes: While Drexel leads the overall series at 49-25, Towson has won 12 of the past 15 meetings and the last five played at SECU Arena.

>> With a swat of a layup attempt by Wynter with 15:29 left in the second half, redshirt senior forward Dennis Tunstall collected his 98th career block and moved into sole possession of ninth place on the program’s all-time blocks list.

>> Betrand, who grew up in Philadelphia, couldn’t resist a slight dig at his hometown Dragons. “Just another CAA game,” he said of his feelings towards Thursday night. “It’s not special until Feb. 8.” That’s when the Tigers will visit Drexel.

>> Towson finished the game with 17 assists and nine steals. The assists total is tied for the second-most this season, while the steals amount is tied for third.

Delaware@Towson

Saturday, 2 p.m.

Video: Flohoops.com

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