TOWSON, Md – What a way to kick-off the first home game in the Pat Skeery era at Towson!
Sure, the Tigers lost this one by 20 to drop their record to 0-5 on the season, but they are improving with each game.
The Beavers (5-1) from the PAC-12 Conference are very well coached and have a wealth of talent. Their only loss of the season was by two points the other night to nationally ranked Vanderbilt and they beat perennial power Texas.
It was a packed Towson Center and there was electricity in the air two hours before the game. About 10 minutes prior to the start of the game, that electricity turned to hysteria when President Barack Obama entered the facility.
Anyone who owned a camera phone whipped it out for a quick shot of the president if they could manipulate the angle between the numerous security officials.
It was like nothing I had ever experienced and a moment in Towson history that will be remembered forever.
Right from the start the Tigers fed off the euphoria transcending from the crowd and Oregon State was ice cold from three-point range.
“I was proud of the way our guys kept their composure,” Oregon State Coach Craig Robinson said following the game. “We missed our first couple of three-point shots and we didn’t panic. Once we started hitting them, I knew we’d be okay.”
Towson sophomore FW Marcus Damas (18 pts. and 10 rebs.) kept Towson in the game for most of the first half.
Although it won’t show in the box score, senior FW Robert Nwankwo (4 pts. and 7 rebs.) and freshman FW Jevon Pressley (0 pts. and 1 reb.) played bigger than their 6’7″ height.
Both had to match-up with the Beavers front court of FW Devon Collier (6’8″), FW/C Angus Brandt (6’10″) and FW Eric Moreland (6’10″). Holding the Beavers three big men to a total of 24 points and nine rebounds.
With both teams playing things fairly conservative early on, the Tigers were within one point (18-17) at the under eight minute timeout mark.
It was obvious the Tigers were expending a tremendous amount of energy just to stay even with the Beavers. Perhaps no one worked harder or moved more than Tigers coach Pat Skerry, who was sprinting and directing traffic with every offensive and defensive set.
“We ran into a very talented and well coached team tonight,” Skerry said.
It was at the under eight minute mark in the first half when Robinson released the fury and called for the Beavers’ defense to trap from a 1-3-1 zone.
The Tigers couldn’t react quick enough to OSU’s traps. Time and time again, the young Tiger guards would dribble to the sidelines, and awaiting to pounce on them was the quick Beavers’ trap.
Towson had 21 turnovers, seven of them by freshman guard Kris Walden who had trouble with the extremely quick Beavers’ guards.
“Until we do a better job taking care of the ball, we are going to have some very long nights,” a frustrated Skerry said after the game.
With the OSU trap in full effect, they took a 32-20 lead into the half.
At the half, the Towson football team received their CAA Conference Championship trophy from none other than President Obama himself.
At the start of the second half, Towson’s Deon Jones (8 pts.) nailed his team’s only two three-point baskets of the night, and for a brief moment it appeared the Tigers would make this a close contest throughout.
But by the under sixteen mark of the second half, OSU built their lead to 13 and never looked back.
Beavers’ FW Collier (15 pts.) was too athletic and too strong for the Tigers. With some highlight film dunks that slowly broke the will of the Tigers, Collier came up with a big play whenever the Tigers tried to gain momentum.
Although unhappy with his team’s turnovers throughout the contest, Skerry was very pleased with his team’s rebounding efforts. The Tigers out rebounded the Beavers 38-23.
“I’m very happy with our rebounding. But they have to keep it up. We can’t have a let down. That was the norm here before.”
After losing to Kansas by 50 plus in their first contest and falling behind 20 points to Michigan to start their second game, the Tigers appear to be headed in the right direction.
It may be a few more games before Towson and Coach Skerry can notch their first win. They visit a rejuvenated UMass team next and George Mason visits the Towson Center next Saturday.
See all the photos from the game by selecting the link below: