No. 2 Towson dispatches JMU 80-71 in CAA quarterfinal

The tournament mantra of “survive and advance” sometimes applies to spectators, as well as teams and players.

Second-seeded Towson outlasted No. 7 James Madison 80-71 in a foul-marred CAA tournament quarterfinal absent flow and pace and basketball aesthetics.

“It’s good to be in the tournament after a year off,” Tigers coach Pat Skerry said. “We guarded and we got to the foul line. We usually rebound, but we didn’t do that tonight.”

Playing 10 miles from its campus, Towson (23-9) had a successful tournament debut after missing last year’s event as a result of NCAA academic sanctions.

The Tigers built a double-figure lead and held on in a game that set records for free throws and attempts. The two teams combined for 62 fouls and 97 free throws. Five players fouled out – four from JMU – and six others finished with four fouls.

Towson was the aggressor, hitting 39 of 61 free throws – 27 of 42 in the second half alone. The Tigers attempted just 12 field goals in the second half and made seven. They hit 5 of 8 from 3-point range.

CAA Player of the Year Jerrelle Benimon had a triple-double – 18 points, 10 rebounds and 12 made free throws in 21 attempts. Four McGlynn led the Tigers with 21 points, and his 3-point shooting (4-for-5) was timely and almost as close to traditional offense as the game came.

“He’s a guy who’s been to the NCAA tournament,” Skerry said of McGlynn, a transfer from Vermont. “His postseason experience helped.”

Andre Nation led JMU (11-20) with 18 points. The Dukes had a 40-26 rebound edge, but shot just 37 percent from the field. Towson’s shooting accuracy negated some of the rebound deficit.

Towson, the preseason favorite, will be in the tournament semifinals for the first time since 2009.

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