Towns nets 31, St. Joseph rebounds
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The passionate basketball fans of Piscataway Township flocked to a warm gymnasium on Tuesday night to see one of their own, but made it a point to refrain from clapping and cheering.
No one questioned their motives, of course, because the main attraction was picking apart their own team's defense. Karl Towns, a Piscataway native, put together a highlight-reel worthy performance in front of his hometown crowd, pouring in 31 points as St. Joseph (Met.) posted an easy 72-54 victory over the Chiefs.
The Kentucky-bound superstar helped the Falcons (10-3) emphatically bounce back from a tough in-conference loss several days ago.
"I came out and, against my hometown, I had to show," said Towns, in the midst of signing a handful of autographs and posing for pictures with young kids. "I tried making my hometown proud and I wanted to show that I'm trying to blossom into the best player I can be."
Towns did that, and so much more. In fact, his sterling effort jolted a deflated offense that absorbed another embarrassing defeat to East Brunswick last Thursday. The surprising Bears walked off with a 52-45 win over St. Joseph before a capacity crowd, marking their second triumph over the powerhouse Falcons this season after pulling off a 58-54 upset on opening night.
In that contest, though dwarfed at most starting positions, East Brunswick outrebounded St. Joseph, 24-16, and held the Falcons' torrid offense to their second lowest point total this season. To make matters worse, St. Joseph was limited to 14 field goals and completely shut out for the last four minutes.
This time, the offensive makeup certainly seemed rejuvenated against another Greater Middlesex Conference rival.
"We were able to get in transition and rebound well," St. Joe's coach Dave Turco said. "I still think we don't close quarters out well. That's one of the things we're striving for because you're not going to be up 15 or 17 in big games. We want to try to get them to understand what a good possession entails."
Towns sparked an early rally which put away the Chiefs in a hurry. The Falcons snapped out of a funk, trailing 10-9, and then constructed an 18-0 run that spanned from the 3:37 mark of the first quarter to 5:07 of the second. The 7-footer contributed nine points during that stretch.
He later went on his own 11-0 run in the third, converting on two dunks, a put-back, a fadeaway jumper and an NBA-range 3-pointer.
Piscataway dropped to 5-9 and had its two-game win streak halted.
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter