Jerrelle Benimon scored 21 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, and teammate Marcus Damas added 15 points as visiting Towson beat slumping Old Dominion team 68-66 on Wednesday in a Colonial Athletic Association contest in Norfolk, Va. DeShawn Painter had 20 points and Dimitri Batten had 15 points for ODU, which also got 13 points and 10 boards from Richard Ross. ODU (2-18, 0-8 in the CAA), which trailed 40-26 at halftime, came back to take the lead at 53-52 with 6:54 left in the game on a basket by Batten. Towson (11-12, 6-4) battled back and took a 64-59 lead with 1:10 left in the game with two free throws by Marcus Damas. Benimon hit two free throws with 40 seconds left to give the Tigers a 66-61 lead. "He has carried us at times this year," Towson head coach Pat Skerry said of Benimon. But Painter hit a 3-pointer for ODU with 30 seconds left to cut the lead to 66-64. Jerome Haiston made one free throw with 28 seconds left to make the score 67-64 and Batten missed a layup with 13 seconds to go. Benimon made a free throw to make it 68-64 with 11 seconds to play and Painter scored in the closing seconds for the final margin. ODU, which trailed by 14 at halftime, cut the lead to 45-43 before Towson's Rafriel Guthrie made a basket to give the Tigers a 47-43 lead with 10:37 left in the game. Guthrie had 14 points and Bilal Dixon had 10 rebounds for Towson. Towson jumped out to a 16-8 lead as ODU missed 10 of its first 14 shots from the field. The Tigers made six of 10 3-point shots in the first half. Benimon began this week fourth in the nation in rebounds at 11.2 per game and as of Jan. 27 was tied with Mike Muscala of Bucknell with 14 doubles-doubles, the most in the nation. Benimon began this week as the top rebounder in the CAA. NOTES: ODU entered the game 1-10 at home and 0-7 on the road and had lost six games in a row. ... Towson will next play at home at 7 p.m. on Monday against UNC-Wilmington, the only team that lost to Tigers last season. ... ODU is in its last season in the CAA and will move to Conference USA next season. The Monarchs are not eligible for the CAA tourney and neither is Towson, due to academic shortcomings under a previous coaching staff. ... The Monarchs are at Georgia State on Saturday.
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