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VCU too much for young Tigers

25 January 2012 By Sam Smith, Associate Sports Editor No Comments
Casey Prather/ The Towerlight

Casey Prather/ The Towerlight

Coming into Wednesday night’s matchup against Virginia Commonwealth, the Rams third-year Head Coach Shaka Smart insured that his players would treat Towson like they would any other opponent.

VCU handed Towson its 41st consecutive loss, a 67-42 outcome.

“I felt it was important to address that because they have probably seen it on TV. It’s not something that you can just ignore. We told the guys that this is a team that has very good spirit for a team in the position that they are in and a very good togetherness,” Smart said.  “They understand that they are in the growing process with a new coach, who has got a lot of energy, and they are competing.”

Turnovers proved once again to be the Tigers’ downfall, as Towson committed 24 turnovers in the contest that lead to 23 VCU points.

The Tigers have more turnovers than made field goals this season. TU has 417 turnovers on the season, while making only 387 field goals.

“Obviously, the key to the game is not turning the ball over against them, and clearly we did that,” Head Coach Pat Skerry said. “At the end of the day, you just can’t have 24 turnovers against a postseason basketball team. Credit to them, that’s what they do to people. We’ve had issues with turnovers all year, but they do a great job of turning people over.”

The Rams had little trouble finding gaps in the Tiger defense and shot 44 percent from the field in the contest compared to Towson’s 29 percent mark. VCU made nine 3-pointers in the contest compared to Towson’s one 3-pointer.

Sophomore guard Rob Brandenberg was one of the Rams’ more consistent offensive threats in the beginning stretch of the season. However, in the past eight games Brandenberg struggled to get his shots to fall and failed to reach double-digits in scoring. Against Towson, Brandenberg broke out of his slump, coming off the bench to score a game-high 16 points on 3-6 shooting, including two three-pointers.

“This is my first time ever in my whole career that I went through a slump like this,” Brandenberg said. “My teammates, they always pick me up no matter what’s going on, no matter if I am making shots or not making shots.”

Senior forward Robert Nwankwo continues to be the one constant offensive force for the young Towson squad that is laden with freshmen and sophomores. Despite missing two dunks, he registered his eighth double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 boards.

“I understand that I have to continue to play basketball. I do understand that these guys that I am playing with, they’re young and inexperienced. But I have to keep my head up and play ball,” Nwankwo said.

The Tigers will look to snap their 41-game losing skid when UNC-Wilmington pays a visit to the Towson center Saturday.

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