The Towson men's basketball team did what it's supposed to do.
Matched up against the second-worst team in the Colonial Athletic Association, the Tigers scored the first nine points and were never seriously threatened by visiting Drexel in a 69-50 yawner before an announced 2,000 at SECU Arena in Towson.
Towson improved to 13-6 overall and 4-2 in the CAA by beating the two worst teams in the conference in Delaware and the Dragons over the past two contests. In fact, the Tigers are in the middle of an eight-game stretch in which they will face only one CAA opponent with a winning league record (Northeastern at 4-2 next Saturday) and meet Drexel (3-14, 1-5), Delaware (5-12, 0-6) and the College of Charleston (10-7, 2-4) twice each.
But coach Pat Skerry said the team can't afford to judge opponents by their marks in the conference.
"Their records aren't as good, but if you were watching, Drexel was up with three minutes to go at Hofstra [on Thursday], and Hofstra beat us by about 80 points here," he said, referring to Towson's 90-58 loss on Jan. 2. "We've got great respect for them. I really believe in this league and this year, if you don't play well, you're going to get beat. We go back to Philadelphia in a couple weeks, and if we don't play well, we're going to get beat.
"Tonight was kind of like our Hofstra game, just the other extreme. We played really well, they didn't play well. That's it. But I really don't believe there are any upsets in this league, I really don't. It's just whoever plays better than night."
Towson junior Arnaud William Adala Moto led all scorers with 16 points, but had to overcome a rough opening. After a first half in which he missed all three of his shots and had more turnovers and fouls (two each) than points (zero), the power forward connected on five of nine shots and sank five of six free throws in the second period.
Adala Moto, who also finished with a game-high 11 rebounds to record his third consecutive double-double, credited his teammates for lifting his spirits by sprinting to a 33-12 advantage at halftime.
"They just picked me up by the way they play," said Adala Moto, who has scored in double digits in 14 straight contests and leads the Tigers in scoring (14.8 points per game) and rebounding (8.2 rebounds per game). "When we were up 20-plus at halftime, that just gave me a little bit more room to breathe — just to play free and be aggressive. … That's what helped me get into a good start in the second half."
Three other Towson players joined Adala Moto in the double-figure club. Sophomore shooting guard Eddie Keith II scored 14 points on 4-for-4 shooting, sophomore point guard Byron Hawkins had 12 points and sophomore shooting guard Mike Morsell added 10 points and three assists.
Drexel missed its first five field-goal attempts before fifth-year senior forward Kazembe Abif sank a short jumper with 15:37 left in the first half.
Meanwhile, Towson had the ball stolen twice on its first two possessions, but settled down enough to race to a 9-0 advantage before Abif's bucket. The Tigers overcame 18 turnovers by outscoring the Dragons 35-20 in the paint and collecting 45 rebounds to Drexel's 33.
Drexel was held to a season low in points and tied a season worst in field goals made via a combination of poor accuracy and the Tigers defense. The Dragons shot just 26.7 percent from the floor (16-for-60), and Towson recorded 11 blocks, which fell just two shy of tying the program record set against George Mason in 1977.
Junior forward Walter Foster used his 6-foot-8 frame to block seven shots, which was tied for the fourth most in a game in Tigers history.
"I would say a lot of my blocks come from being on the weak side and just timing them right," said Foster, who added five points and five rebounds. "… I actually thought I had five blocks today, but somebody told me in the locker room. So I guess I've got to go with it."
Freshman point guard Terrell Allen paced Drexel with a team-high 15 points and five rebounds, and sophomore shooting guard Sammy Mojica chipped in 12 points. But it wasn't enough to prevent the Dragons from dropping their sixth game in seven outings.
Losses by William & Mary and Hofstra created a six-way tie for first place in the CAA with Towson participating in that logjam. But Skerry said he won't take much comfort from the standings.
"It's way too early," he said. "The problem in this league is you could roll off four wins or a row or four losses in a row. There are just no surprises."
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