GAME NOTES: The Oregon State Beavers will wrap up a three-game homestand on Wednesday with a non-conference battle against the Towson Tigers at Gill Coliseum.
This matchup marks the first half of a two-game road swing for Towson. Last time out the Tigers were at home against Central Penn College, which the Tigers easily dispatched, 102-72. The win ended a short two-game slide. Towson, which has not won a game on the road in three tries, visits North Dakota State next.
In the first two legs of the current stretch of home games, Oregon State claimed victories over Arkansas Pine-Bluff (77-63) and Maryland Eastern Shore (98-66). The Beavers have won five of their last six games overall to improve to 5-2 overall. Next up they will take part in the Diamond Head Classic beginning on Sunday.
This is the third straight season these teams have met. A year ago Towson earned a 67-66 overtime victory, also at Gill Coliseum. Oregon State won 66-46, in 2011. Prior to those two meetings, these teams had never matched up before.
Jerrelle Benimon recorded a triple-double to carry Towson over Central Penn College. He netted 17 points, collected 18 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. The Tigers hit on 55.8 percent of their field-goal tries and had 13 different players record at least one field goal.
Benimon, a former player at Georgetown, is one of the more versatile players in the country. The 6-foot-8 forward currently leads the Tigers in scoring (16.5 ppg), rebounds (10 rpg), assists (4.3 apg) and blocks (1.8 bpg). Although his showing against CPC was his first triple-double, he has posted four double-doubles on the campaign. Benimon's work on the glass has helped Towson rank 15th in the country in rebounding (42.3 pg). Marcus Damas (11.2 ppg) joins Benimon as a double-figure scorer in the starting rotation, while Rafriel Guthrie (12.7 ppg) adds a spark off the bench. Damas had 12 points against CPC, while Guthrie tacked on 17.
At the end of the first half Oregon State clung to a 34-33 lead against Maryland Eastern Shore. After the break the Beavers found their rhythm, hitting 63.2 percent of their field goal attempts to run away with the victory. Devon Collier registered 24 points and 12 rebounds and Roberto Nelson added 20 points in the win.
Oregon State is an explosive offensive squad. The Beavers are leading the country in field-goal percentage (.549), while ranking among the top 20 teams nationally in points per game (85.6). Nelson (24.7 ppg, 4.9 apg) and Collier (22.7 , 10 rpg) do the heavy lifting to keep the Beavers on point offensively. Collier has four double-doubles this season and has scored at least 20 points in five of six games he has played in. Nelson leads the team in assists as well as scoring and is a solid shooter from beyond the arc (.343). Angus Brandt (11.3 ppg, 5 rpg) fits in as the starting center and the only other player averaging in double figures.
Some of the best scorers in the country will be butting heads in this matchup. Although the Beavers are a bit too reliant on two players, they have proven to have enough firepower, especially at home, to consistently get the job done.
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