WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Junior forward Brian Fobbs sank a pair of free throws with 5.3 seconds remaining and Towson survived a last-second runner by rookie sensation Kai Toews to escape with a 77-76 decision over UNCW on Thursday night in Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball action at Trask Coliseum.
The Tigers improved to 8-15 overall and 4-6 in the CAA after winning for the third time in four games. The Seahawks dropped their second in a row and stand 8-15 and 4-6.
Fobbs led all scorers in the contest with 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field and grabbed 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Three other Tigers – redshirt senior Jordan McNeil, redshirt junior forward Dennis Tunstall and junior guard Tobias Howard – chipped in 11 points apiece for the Tigers.
Junior guard Jaylen Fornes paced four Seahawks in double figures with 19 points. Toews added a double-double of 16 points and 11 assists, senior forward Devontae Cacok notched a double-double of 15 points and 11 boards and freshman guard Jaylen Sims contributed 11.
Towson avenged a 67-61 setback to the Seahawks back on Jan. 5 at SECU Arena by shooting 58.8 percent for the game, including a robust 67.9 percent in the first half. UNCW outscored the visitors by four points, 35-31, in the final period.
UNCW trailed by five points at halftime, fell behind by 12 points early in the second half and grabbed the lead with just under four minutes remaining until the Tigers pulled it out.
After the Tigers used a mini-run of five straight points to push ahead, 68-61, with 6:11 left, the Seahawks responded with seven points in a row – capped by a power move from Cacok under the bucket – to tie the game at 68-all with 4:36 left to play.
The Seahawks then registered their first lead of the contest, 71-68, at the 3:47 mark when Ty Gadsden splashed a triple along the left wing.
But Fobbs converted a conventional three-point play and added a trey in the left corner to give the Tigers a 74-71 advantage with 2:35 showing before Fornes sank three free throws with 12.5 seconds on the clock to give the Seahawks a brief, 76-75, edge.
The Tigers then got the ball to Fobbs, who dribbled down the left side and was fouled near the basket. He sank both free throw for the decisive points, silencing the home crowd of 3,570 fans at Trask.
Towson used a 12-2 run over a 4:10 stretch early in the contest to grab a double-digit lead, 20-10. A three-pointer by Fobbs with 12:17 left in the opening period gave the Tigers an early cushion.
Towson’s first-half lead swelled to 14 points when Howard dropped in a three-ball with 9:46 on the clock as Towson forged ahead, 28-14. The Seahawks closed the gap to 46-41 at intermission after Toews scored the final six points of the period. He led all scorers in the first half with 13 markers.
SERIES UPDATE: The Seahawks still lead the all-time series, 24-16, and own a 14-3 record against the Tigers at Trask Coliseum. It was Towson’s first win in Wilmington since Jan. 2, 2013.
REBOUND BATTLE: In a matchup of the loop’s top two rebounding teams, the Tigers prevailed, 34-29. However, UNCW won the battle on the offensive glass, 11-8.
HOME RECORD: The Seahawks are 4-7 at home this season and 2-4 in conference home contests.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE UPDATES: Cacok has now posted a double-double in all 10 conference games and pushed his totals to an NCAA-leading 17 on the season and program-high 52 for his career. Toews collected his second straight double-double and sixth of his young career.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS: The Seahawks have featured two players with a double-double in the same game on six occasions.
KEY MOMENT: Gadsden drained a three-pointer on the left side with 3:47 remaining to give UNCW its first lead of the game, 71-68.
FULLY FORNES: Fornes erupted for 19 points – his second highest total of the season – and eclipsed his total over the previous six games.
QUOTABLE: “You have to give them credit. They kept on making the big shots. We kept on coming back and coming back and made it a heckuva ball game.” – UNCW Head Coach C.B. McGrath
NEXT UP: The Seahawks conclude a string of four consecutive home games on Saturday with the annual Homecoming game vs. James Madison. Tip-off is 7 p.m. at Trask Coliseum.