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Towson burned by the 3-point shot

15 February 2012 By Sam Smith, Associate Sports Editor No Comments
Northeastern knocks down nine triples en route to 19-point win in Boston

Senior forward Rob Nwankwo is having a stellar season. But that might get lost in translation this year, as the Tigers have won one game in 28 contests.

However, Nwankwo recorded his 12th double-double of the season Tuesday night in Towson’s 70-51 loss at the hands of the Northeastern Huskies (8-8, 12-14 Colonial Athletic Association).

Coming into Tuesday night’s game, the former walk-on was ranked fourth in CAA in rebounds with 9.3 per game, third in the league in blocked shots with 2.6 rejections a contest, and an average of 11.8 points a game. Against the Huskies,

Nwankwo picked up 19 points on 7-11 shooting from the floor, grabbed 13 boards and recorded another block.

In the eyes of Head Coach Pat Skerry, the probability of Nwankwo continuing his playing career after college is high.

“We wish we had him longer, he’s really just scratching the surface. We’ve been talking to him about finishing up his degree, which he has the chance to do, and having a chance to play after his playing days at Towson,” Skerry said. “I wish he played with better ball handlers and passers.  In my opinion, he is an all-league player whose best days are ahead of him.”

Outside of Nwankwo and an occasional hot stretch from sophomore forward Marcus Damas, offensive production has been hard to come by for the rest of the Towson (1-27, 1-15 CAA) squad.

Damas and Nwankwo were the only two players to reach the double-digits in scoring against Northeastern. Damas tallied 15 points on 4-11 shooting.

Meanwhile, the Huskies had four different scorers reach double figures, including a game-high 20 points from junior guard Joel Smith, who buried five of the Huskies nine 3-pointers in the contest.

The Tigers have struggled to guard against the 3-point shot over the last few games, which Skerry said is upsetting to see.

“We hammered that home the last few days and we showed our record is what it is, mostly because of our inability to sustain concepts and understand personnel,” Skerry said. “I’m very, very disappointed in our perimeter defense the last couple of games. We’ve got to be more alert and we’ve got to be more aware of who the shooters are. We can’t give up threes because we can’t make up that extra point.”

Shooting just 49.8 percent from the floor, the worst percentage in the CAA, the Tigers’ inability to hit jump shots has plagued them. Their poor shooting has increased the importance of getting to the foul line, but Towson only received 15 shots from the line against the Huskies.

“We need to take more free throws than our opponent and that didn’t happen tonight,” Skerry said. “I think tonight was just a prime example of they were a lot more ready to play than we were.  They absolutely out-toughed us mentally and physically.”

Towson’s biggest strength this season has been their tenacity on boards. After out-rebounding James Madison by 30 on Saturday, the Tigers were neutralized on the rebounding end. They only mustered one more rebound than the Huskies.

Towson continues its road trip Saturday when they play at New Hampshire in a BracketBuster game.

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