Towson (7-4) at Oregon St. (5-2) / Gill Coliseum / 7 PM / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
The Towson Tigers from Baltimore, MD, and the Colonial Athletic Association, return to the scene of one of the most stunning events in recent memory of Oregon St. athletics, for tonight's rematch of last season's shocker.
Last year, Towson came into Corvallis 4-8, but coming off a 1-31 season, for an early afternoon contest that was supposed to be easy win for the crowd of Beaver fans who didn't go to San Antonio gathered to watch the game and then stay over to watch the Alamo Bowl, in which Oregon St. was favored to roll over Texas to cap a double digit win season.
Things didn't quite go according to plan, though. The Tigers fought their way into overtime against an overconfident Oregon St. squad, and then pulled out a 67-66 win the news of which stunned Beaver fans in San Antonio as much as those on hand.
And of course we all still remember the series of penalties, clock management fiascos, and coaching blunders that combined to blow the lead, and eventually the game in the Alamo Dome, as Texas also pulled off a late game 31-27 upset win.
As it turned out, that Towson team was pretty good, and wound up 18-13, and 13-5 in the CAA, good for 3rd place. The Tigers were absent from the postseason only because they were ineligible due to NCAA academic progress rules, and their lack thereof.
This year's Towson team comes in off a 102-72 win over Central Pennsylvania, and with over a week's rest and practice, having last played last Tuesday. The win over the Knights snapped a 2 game losing streak, and the Tigers have already posted a pair of 3 game winning streaks.
Against Central Penn, Jerrelle Benimon, Towson's leading scorer, averaging 16.5 points per game, led the Tigers with 17. Beaver fans on hand last year will recall Benimon posting a game high 20 points, and a game higher 21 rebounds, after playing every second of the game.
Rafriel Guthrie, who is second on the Towson squad in scoring, averaging 12.7 points per game, padded that stat, with 17 points in just 18 minutes off the bench.
And Marcus Damas, who of course hit the Beaver beating 18 footer with 8/10ths of a second left, had 12 points, 8 boards, 4 assists, 4 blocked shots, and 2 steals in the Tigers' last win.
At least Oregon St. shouldn't be looking past Towson, something that appeared to be a problem early in both of last weekends's games against other overmatched obscure opponents from sub-major conferences.
Both Friday against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Sunday against Maryland-Eastern Shore, the Beavers built big double digit early leads, only to blow all of it and more, and have to mount major second half runs to pull away from games they barely led at the break, up 4 points on the Golden Lions, and then only 1 on the Hawks.
Oregon St. eventually downed Arkansas-Pine Bluff 77-63, and blew out Maryland-Eastern Shore 98-66, with double doubles by Devon Collier, 20 pts and 10 rbs Friday night and 24 points and 12 boards Sunday afternoon, and 20 or more point efforts by Roberto Nelson, 26 and 20, leading the way.
The difference between a comfortable win at the end of finals week and the blowout to begin winter break came from Angus Brandt, who had 17 points on 6 of 9 shooting against the shorter Hawks.
Towson is the 4th opponent from Maryland Oregon St. will play this year, which is probably 5 more than makes ANY sense, recruiting or crowd attraction wise.
There could be a few Tiger fans on hand, given that Towson's football team will be in Cheney, WA, Saturday afternoon, for a 2 PM FCS Semifinal showdown with Eastern Washington.
The series is tied at a win apiece, and both were road wins, with the Beavers taking a 20 point, 66-46, on Nov. 26, 2011 in Towson, MD, and then the Tigers overcoming a 19 point second half deficit last year.