Oct 4, 2013, 4:17 PM EDT
Towson is coming off a breakout 2012-13 season under coach Pat Skerry in which it posted the biggest turnaround in NCAA history. The Tigers’ 18 victories were their most since 1993-94 and they set a school record for CAA wins by going 13-5.
Instead of the underdog role, Towson enters this season as one of the favorites to capture the conference title as it begins its first season playing at 5,200-seat SECU Arena. CAA Player of the Year Jerrelle Benimon leads a group of four returning starters. Benimon was spectacular in his first year at Towson, recording 20 double-doubles while averaging 17.1 ppg and ranking third in the nation in rebounding (11.2 rpg). The Tigers also have one of the league’s best small forwards in senior Marcus Damas, who contributed 11.4 ppg and 5.3 rpg last season and scored double figures in nine of the Tigers’ final 10 games. Also back is Timajh Parker-Rivera, who chipped in 2.8 ppg and 3.1 rpg in his rookie campaign. Freshmen John Davis and Walter Foster could also time up front.
There are also plenty of weapons in the Tigers’ backcourt. Back to run the show is Jerome Hairston, who was honored on the CAA All-Rookie squad after averaging 9.9 ppg and dishing out 77 assists. At shooting guard is senior Mike Burwell, who knocked down a team-high 47 three-pointers and averaged 9.0 ppg last year. Senior Rafriel Guthrie provides an offensive spark as the Tigers’ sixth man with 8.1 ppg. Joining that group is sophomore Four McGlynn, a transfer from Vermont who was the Rookie of the Year in the America East in 2011-12 He scored 12.0 ppg and drained 68 treys for the Catamounts as a freshman.
The Tigers face a challenging non-conference schedule which includes a home game with Temple and road tests at Kansas, Villanova and Oregon State.
Did You Know: Senior forward Jerrelle Benimon sets Towson’s Division I mark for rebounds in a season with 346, which was also the 9th-best season total in CAA history. Benimon averaged 11.2 rebounds per game last year, which is the most of any returning player in the nation.
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