Pat Skerry didn't sound surprised that sophomore guard Four McGlynn had his best game in a Towson uniform in Saturday night’s Colonial Athletic Association tournament quarterfinal victory over James Madison.
As the Tigers coach reminded the media, the Vermont transfer has won a conference tournament before and played two games in the NCAA tournament.
McGlynn also had the advantage of having been in Baltimore Arena previously, though for a far different reason than basketball.
“Umm, yeah, I’ve actually been here. I came here with my dad for a WWE event, if you can believe that,” the York, Pa., native conceded, almost sheepishly, in an arena hallway after scoring a season-high 21 points in Towson’s 80-71 victory.
Saturday night’s game looked a lot like a professional wrestling card. The teams combined for 62 personal fouls — most in CAA tournament history — and Towson shot a program-record 61 free throws.
McGlynn made nine of 10 from the line and hit four of his five attempts from the field, all 3-pointers, to finish as the Tigers’ leading scorer.
It was the type of performance that Towson expected when the 6-foot-2 guard decided to transfer from Vermont after the 2011-12 season. At the time, Skerry lauded McGlynn as “potentially one of the premier shooters in the country.”
McGlynn poured in 15 points in his Towson debut back in November, but his scoring lines have been far from consistent this season.
Since the conference season started, McGlynn had yet to top 11 points, until Saturday. He shot 32 percent from the floor in CAA games and averaged 8.5 points in the regular season after averaging 12 points and being named America East Rookie of the Year in his freshman season.
“Obviously, my shots are down a little [from] my freshman year, but I think you can expect that when you have the best player in the league — and probably an NBA baskeball player — on my team,” McGlynn said, referencing star forward Jerrelle Benimon. “I’m just trying to fill my role and do what I can to help my team win.”
But it had to feel good to have a few of them go down against James Madison, right?
“Yeah, it did,” said McGlynn, who hadn’t scored in double figures in three weeks. “And it definitely helped that we had a huge crowd here tonight.”
McGlynn's quick deflection of praise fits the description Skerry used for his reserve sharpshooter after Saturday’s game: “unselfish.”
Skerry noted that McGlynn’s impact on the Tigers’ success is often greater than the box score indicates.
McGlynn spaces the floor by remaining locked and loaded behind the arc, and opponents have been reluctant to help off him this season, Skerry said.
That’s led to him having about half as many shot attempts as he had at Vermont, but it’s helped clear space for his teammates to drive to the rim and get to the foul line.
Skerry also pointed out that the Tigers did a good job of finding McGlynn on Saturday.
With 14 minutes left in the second half, Benimon started barrelling toward the basket, a move all to familiar to his CAA opponents. But when two defenders converged, he passed off to McGlynn, who drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing to put the Tigers up 45-34.
“It helps a lot when someone else scores in double figures,” Benimon said, “or 20 points, like Four did tonight.”
Though he doesn’t need to score 20 on a regular basis for Towson to win, McGlynn is capable.
He scored 18 in Vermont’s NCAA tournament play-in victory over Lamar two years ago. (He was just 2-for-13 from the floor and 0-for-6 on 3-pointers when the Catamounts lost to top-seeded North Carolina in the following round.)
While his season at Vermont went well, McGlynn was about a 10-hour drive from home, and he said he transferred to Towson to be closer to his family. It meant having to sit out all of last season, but he was able to have at least 10 people from home at Baltimore Arena on Saturday night as he had another strong game under the postseason lights.
“I don’t know if I get up for bigger games or not,” he said afterward. “I guess, in my career, I’ve played well in games that are more important.”
Towson has another big one Sunday, when it faces William & Mary. With two more wins, McGlynn will be back in the NCAA tournament, and from his experience, he thinks the Tigers can compete in the main event.
“When the ball goes up, we think we can play with anybody in the country,” he said.