Tigers still struggling in early part of 2012
After losing every game in the calendar year of 2011, the new year is following in similar fashion. Towson has lost their first two games of 2012 falling to Northeastern in the Towson Center on Monday and to Drexel Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
Last season, TU fell to Drexel three times, including the 75-69 loss in the first round of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament in what turned out to be the last game of the Pat Kennedy Era.
Drexel came into the season as the preseason favorites to win the CAA. Even though they are 9-5 overall, they came into the Towson matchup with an 0-2 mark in CAA play. It was clear the Dragons were hungry for their first conference victory shutting down the Tigers and taking a convincing 60-27 victory.
“When you have Drexel, it’s a toughness game physically and mentally,” Towson Head Coach Pat Skerry said. “We told the guys that you are going to punch nerves and get hit and it was clear that it was the men against the boys tonight.”
The Tigers couldn’t get many baskets to fall as they shot just 8-37 from the field, a 21.4 percent clip. Towson’s highest scorer was sophomore Marcus Damas with six points.
The Dragons are no strangers to sharing the wealth, as they have four players averaging more than 11 points per game.
“They play seven guys and they’re all good players at this level,” Skerry said. “They certainly have good players; they are talented.”
Forward Samme Givens, who has led the Dragons in scoring with 12.4 points per game, notched a game-high 18 points as he continues to cause Towson trouble. He scored 22 points and 14 rebounds in the Tigers CAA Tournament loss.
The Dragons entered as the leading defensive rebounding team in the CAA and outrebounded the Tigers with a commanding 39-18 advantaged on the boards.
After playing one of his best games of the season when he scored a career-high 14 points against Northeastern, sophomore forward Erique Gumbs was a nonfactor with four points and two rebounds. Forward Rob Nwankow recorded four boards and Marcus Damas pulled in one.
Skerry continues to preach that rebounding is one of the cornerstones to winning and wants his team to understand that concept.
“For where we are at right now, make no mistake about it, if we are not going to rebound and defend at a very high level, we won’t beat anybody,” Skerry said. For whatever reason, that message got lost in translation, especially in the second half.”
The Tigers continue their road swing with a trip to Old Dominion on Saturday. The Monarchs have started off conference play undefeated with two wins evening their record to 7-7 on the season.