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Tigers can’t solve UNH in Bracket Buster game

19 February 2012 By Sam Smith, Associate Sports Editor No Comments

Despite Towson (1-28, 1-15 Colonial Athletic Association) recording a season-low eight turnovers and forward Rob Nwankwo scoring a career-high 20 points, The Tigers’ inability to connect and guard from long range brought on a 72-58 loss to The University of New Hampshire (12-14, 6-8 America East) Saturday night at the Lundholm Gym.

“Well, they shot it from three,” Towson Head Coach Pat Skerry said.  “Even though our defensive numbers have been good, we just haven’t guarded threes well and it hurt us again.”

Realistically, Skerry said he knows that it is hard to win games when his team has displayed a great incapability to score. Combined with the Tigers’ inability to prevent 3-pointers, that extra point is tough for them to earn.

The Tigers shot 33.3 percent from the floor, making 18 of their 54 shots.

“At some point, unfortunately, we have to be able to make some shots. We struggled to score the ball,” Skerry said.  “If we don’t hold people to an unbelievably low percentage defensively and actually hammer them on the boards, we have no chance. We’ve got to get some guys who can get it in the bucket.”

Three-point defense continues to be an issue for the Tigers, despite the fact that Skerry has been focusing on that in practice as of late. In the last three games, the Tigers have allowed their opponents to make 29 3-pointers at a 44.4 percent rate.

None of the Tigers’ starters turned the ball over more than twice. Freshman point guard Kris Walden recorded a career-low one turnover and scored eight points, but did not get any assists.

“He took care of the ball well and he had some really good looks and took great shots, just didn’t knock them down,” Skerry said. “I thought he guarded pretty well, too. I though Kris showed a lot of toughness.”

Senior forward Rob Nwankwo registered a third straight double-double, scoring a career-high 20 points with 13 rebounds and two blocks. The double-double is his 13th of the season. He averaged 18 points and 13.6 rebounds in the last three games and is inching closer to averaging a double-double per game.

“I really couldn’t be prouder of Rob. He is playing at a ridiculously high level right now,” Skerry said. “I’m not usually one who likes to talk about that stuff, but this kid deserves it. He is getting better and is playing on a team that is having struggles and he is the only senior. We don’t get him easy buckets.”

Although sophomore forward Marcus Damas contributed 13 points with four assists and no turnovers to go along with Nwankwo’s strong offensive performance and eight points from Deon Jones, the three were no match for the three-headed attack of New Hampshire that featured 19 points from both junior forward Ferg Myrick and junior guard Chandler Rhodes.

Sophomore forward Patrcik Konan scored 16 points on five of eight shooting with a team-high seven rebounds.

Rhodes hit four of the Wildcat’s 10 3-pointers in the contest.

The Tigers will return to the Towson Center for the final time this season to face Delaware on Wednesday.  They will honor seniors Nwankwo, Bryan Blackstone and Deyon Cook as a part of Senior Day ceremonies. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

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