After stumbling badly in consecutive nonleague games at home against Bucknell and Rider, La Salle set out to end the trend Wednesday night against Towson.
In a contest at Tom Gola Arena that required overtime, La Salle lost a 93-90 decision.
Towson, which had led for the entire second half before falling behind, 75-74, on a three-point jumper by La Salle guard Sam Mills with just under four minutes left, knotted the score at 86 on a three-pointer by forward Isaiah Philmore with 1.8 seconds remaining.
When La Salle attempted to throw a baseball pass on its ensuing possession, forward Steve Weingarten's attempt hit the scoreboard hanging over midcourt. Towson took over, but a shot by forward Braxton Dupree fell short as the buzzer sounded, focring the overtime.
With the win, Towson improved to 4-7. La Salle fell to 6-7.
The Explorers were without starting guard Rueben Guillandeaux, a 14.7-points-per-game scorer who traveled home to Brooklyn for Christmas and came down with the flu. Forward Jerrell Williams, who reached a career high with 24 points against Rider, established a new personal best with 32 points, to go with 12 rebounds.
Williams' energy throughout the game kept La Salle within reach of the lead.
The teams had met only once previously, and that was 28 seasons ago when Towson was in its fourth year as a Division I program. La Salle won, 79-78, under Kevin Gallagher that day in 1983.
The Tigers' coach back then was Vince Angotti, who now is the radio analyst for some Towson games.
Towson's current coach, 31-year veteran Pat Kennedy, is in his seventh season with the Tigers after guiding Iona, Florida State, DePaul, and Montana.
Towson, which also had dropped two in a row, and four of its previous five, led by 43-37 at halftime against La Salle.
The Tigers received 27 points each from Philmore and Dupree, and 23 from guard Josh Brown.
The same problem that caused the Explorers to go down to Bucknell and Rider plagued them against the Tigers: defense.
The visitors made 16 of 27 shot attempts during the first 20 minutes, and committed four turnovers to nine for La Salle.
Beginning with a little more than eight minutes to go before intermission, Towson scored nine straight points to open a 29-17 advantage. But with the Tigers up by 40-32, the Explorers closed to 40-37 on a three-point jumper by reserve guard Cole Stefan and two free throws by Williams.
Towson guard Josh Brown nailed a shot from beyond the arc with six seconds remaining to end the first-half scoring.
Williams had game highs of 15 points and nine rebounds in the first half, and La Salle's leading scorer, 6-10 center Aaric Murray, had three points and three rebounds. For Towson, Dupree (14 points) and Philmore (12) combined to shoot 11 for 16 from the floor.
Notes. After hosting Binghamton on Sunday, La Salle will open its Atlantic Ten season at George Washington on Jan. 5. A Jan. 12 date with Penn is the only other out-of-conference outing the Explorers have left.