In the regular-season finale for the No. 2 and 3 teams in the Colonial Athletic Association, guard Mike Burwell’s layup with one second left capped Towson’s from a double-digit halftime deficit to a 70-68 victory over William & Mary, 70-68, on Saturday at SECU Arena in Towson, Md.
Behind forward Jerelle Benimon’s NCAA-leading 20th double-double of the season with 21 points and 16 rebounds, the Tigers — who trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half — stormed back.
Towson closed the season on a six-game winning streak and won 10 of their last 11, in addition to finishing 15-1 at home this year.
Towson (22-9 overall, 13-3 in CAA) will head to next week’s CAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed after nearly claiming a share of league title Saturday when regular-season champion Delaware State edged College of Charleston earlier in the day.
Things didn’t start out so hot for Towson on Saturday, however, as William & Mary, which was led by forward Tim Rusthoven’s 20 points, five assists and four rebounds, jumped all over the Tigers early.
The Tribe (18-11, 10-6) took a 25-10 lead with 6:56 left in the first half on guard Omar Prewitt’s jumper, but Towson went on a 12-0 run to close to 25-22 with two minutes remaining before intermission.
William & Mary then outscored Towson 11-4 from there and headed to halftime up, 36-26.
The Tigers stormed out of the half and steadily sliced into the Tribe’s lead before finally tying the game, 51-51, with 7:44 remaining in the game on a layup by Benimon.
After a Tribe timeout, the Tiger took their first lead since it was 2-0 in the first minute of the game on forward Timajh Parker-Rivera’s bucket.
The Tribe tied the game, 68-68, with 21 seconds remaining on two of free throws by Prewitt, setting the stage for Burwell’s heroics.
Burwell finished with 10 points and five assists, while the Tigers also got 12 points from guard Rafriel Guthrie and 10 points and six rebounds from guard Marcus Damas.
Prewitt added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Tribe and guard Marcus Thornton had 13 points.
William & Mary leads the all-time series, 14-13, but Towson swept the season series, also winning their earlier meeting this season, 85-70, in Williamsburg, Va.
Towson’s 22nd win of the season was the most by any Tigers team since they joined Division I.
William & Mary will be the CAA Tournament’s No. 3 seed.
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