The Towson Tigers rank eighth in a ten team CAA in three point shooting. Pat Skerry’s team is ninth in the conference in foul shooting. They are last in effective field goal percentage. They compete in games through their interior defense and work on the offensive glass. So when fans looked to the halftime scoreboard and saw Drexel trailing by 27, with Towson shooting better than 50% from outside the three point line and 100% from the free throw stripe, stunned is the only word that could be thrown around. When they saw that the points in the paint were even, at 8 to 8, a new word entered the conversation: bizarre.
Make no mistake about it. The Towson Tigers just beat down the Drexel Dragons on Towson’s Pat Skerry led Autism Awareness Day like Danny Ainge did when he traded the rights to Markelle Fultz to the 76ers in return for the rights to Jayson Tatum and a first round pick. It was a beat down so bad that from every new perspective, it looked even worse.
“A perfect storm” was the phrase used by Zach Spiker in his postgame radio spot. He went on to note that Solomon Uyaelunmo knocked down a three for Towson – it was his first attempt at a three pointer all season.
Coach Spiker went on to note that “There were some fouls that were called that changed us… The challenge is we’re going to have fouls called against us. We have to have a little more composure. We lost the game from a composure standpoint.” And he was right on. The usual CAA Saturday afternoon officiating clown show was out there. But he’s correct about the other part too. At Delaware, Troy Harper lost his composure and it may have cost his team the game. At William and Mary, it wasn’t about the officiating, but the whole team lost themselves and it cost them the game. In Saturday’s contest at Towson it’s hard to say that composure cost the team the game since Towson was simply insanely hot, but the repeated theme shouldn’t be lost as this team attempts to re-group. As least from the outside looking in, maturity and discipline seems lacking. Rob Brooks made mention during postgame radio that the body language from the team was not going to get this team “the next call from the officials”. It is quite apparent that there is no fourth year senior on this team. This is one of the pitfalls of a coaching transition.
The Dragons did outscor Towson in the paint for the game. When that was mentioned to Spiker, he responded “Yeah, and the three point battle, we made threes, we just didn’t make them when it mattered.” These are the areas that you look to win when you play Towson. The Dragons weren’t bad in those areas. They simply got rolled by a team that was hitting everything, when that is the last thing you worry about when preparing for them. And once they lost their composure they were never going to make it back. This has been a comeback team all year long, and last year they came back from further down than this against Delaware. But on this day, the Dragons were beat early. A flanking attack that neither the players or coaches saw coming. And with that Trevor John’s 4-8 shooting day went for naught, alongside Alihan Demir’s 17 points on just 8 shot attempts.
This team has a short bench, and perhaps when it comes to officiating, too long a memory. So when Cam Wynter and Troy Harper are in foul trouble four minutes into the game, there really isn’t a next man up right now. The losses of Kurk Lee and Zach Walton have cost the Dragons quite a few wins this year, and have made this team much too thin to lose their starters early in the first half. Eventually Wynter, Harper and John all fouled out. Kevin Doi came off the bench and went 2-4 from deep at the end of the game, simply because the Dragons needed bodies.
The Dragons did get some help in the standings, but with both of the weekend games dropped by DU, the Dragons no longer need to just beat Delaware in order to avoid the play-in game. They’ll need to beat either second place Northeastern or first place Hofstra at the DAC as well, as the season wraps up with a three game homestand. This team has the ability to do that, but will be underdogs in both contests. The next game is the UD game, this Saturday at the DAC.
Until then, enjoy rivalry week!