Towson could be mid-major to remember come March

Towson University is creeping on a come up. 

The Tigers have jumped out to an 8-1 start, winning two tournaments on two different continents, heading into their matchup against in-state rival Morgan State (Md.) on Wednesday. Riding an eight-game winning streak, including victories in the Florida Gulfcoast Showcase and the Belfast Invitational in Northern Ireland, Towson received a vote in the AP top 25 poll for the first time since 2013 this week. 

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Its early résumé doesn’t include triumphs over any top-ranked teams, logging wins against the likes of Florida Atlantic, Penn, Georgia Southern, La Salle and Marshall. But Towson has shown it could be a cut above its competition among mid-majors, posting an average margin of victory of 19.1 points per game, a figure on par with the season-long totals of both No. 16 Arizona State and No. 21 Purdue.

Larger tests loom, however. After Towson’s meeting against UMBC on Saturday and Oakland (Mich.) on Dec. 20, it’ll travel to Pitt on Dec. 22 for its biggest non-conference game, scheduled to be shown live on ESPN3.  

Led by top scorer, sophomore Zane Martin (17.4 ppg), and seniors Mike Morsell (12.8 ppg) and Brian Star (10.1 ppg), Towson is winning the old fashioned way — sharing the ball on offense, getting after it on defense and crashing the boards. Seven different Tigers have scored in double-digits this season. The Tigers boast the nation’s fifth-stingiest defense, limiting opponents to just 59.6 points per contest on 37.7-percent shooting, including 24.7 percent from 3-point range, fifth-best in the NCAA. They’re also 25th in rebounding margin (9.1).  

Despite having the highest RPI (39), among the 10 schools which comprise the Colonial Athletic Association, the Tigers (RPI 14) remain behind league foe and ninth-ranked Charleston in the College Insider men’s mid-major top 25. Coincidentally, those two face off in the teams’ league opener Dec. 30. The Tigers have made just two trips to the NCAA tournament in school history, in 1990 and 1991, losing both times in the first round. 

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