Towson Takes Down Loyola 85-69

Towson ~ The college basketball season is a marathon, not a sprint. A frustrating 0-3 outing at the Island of Bahamas Showcase had Towson Head Coach reminiscing about his first season at the school, a 31-loss season. Nevertheless, he made it clear that he was proud of his guys for their resiliency, especially in the last 10 minutes.

“It’s a work in progress,” Brian Forbes said, “It may take a while, but this game definitely helps especially with our spacing, moving the ball, not being stagnant.”

The Tigers came back from a seven-point deficit at the half to win 85-69 over Loyola. Fobbs andTobias Howard combined for 48 points in the win, 25 and 23 respectively. The two transfer guards are a part of the 10 new players on this squad, and proudly own the pressure and responsibilities of being the leaders of this team. Nakye Sanders, the third of the 10 players, joined them in double figures with 14points and added nine rebounds. Loyola was led by Andrew Kostecka, who scored a career-high 30 points.

“They run good offense,” Towson Head Coach PatSkerry said, “Anytime a guy drops 30 on you, you got trouble.”

It was a tale of two halves for the two Baltimore universities. Loyola was able to run their sets and execute their offense in an efficient manner, hitting on 51 percent shooting of their field goals, including knocking down seven 3-pointers at a 41percent clip. Astonishingly, out of their 17 field goals, 11 of them were assisted. Loyola was able to rip off a 14-5 run to take control of the game, creating a 36-28 advantage. At this moment five different Greyhounds scored, including Kostecka who scored seven points. The junior guard hit a 3-pointer off an assist from Kenneth Jones that gave Loyola a 25-24 lead, a steal-and-dunk, and a tip-in basket.

 “We try to pride ourselves on defense,” Skerry said, “But they’re a hard team to guard.”

The Greyhound formula of forcing catches away from the play and giving up little to no space on dribble-drives resulted in the Tigers initiating their offense deep in the shot clock and having to put up heavily contested shots. Fortunately, Towson hit 48 percent of their shots, but couldn’t hit the ocean from distance, only hitting three3-pointers out of 11. The Tigers turned it around on the Greyhounds, stiflingLoyola into 27 percent shooting from the field, and allowing two 3-point baskets. Towson grabbed the lead and never looked back during a 10-0 run, finished off by the aforementioned Fobbs-Timberlake 3-point connection. Loyola cut the lead to as close as four after a Chuck Champion backdoor layup made it66-62, but that was close as the Greyhounds would get. The Towson defense didn’t allow a single field goal to go down in the final 5:48 of the contest, forcing the Greyhounds offense to a halt. Loyola went 0-8 down the stretch.

“They set the tone in the second half,” Loyola head Coach Tavaras Hardy said, “Thought we did things offensively in the first half that was difficult for them to guard but the second half they were able to get us out of our rhythm. “

Towson Runs Over Wesley 93-66

Towson – Last season Quinton Drayton had to sit and watch from the sideline, using his redshirt season to develop and improve all facets of his game like shooting before he could play during the 2018-2019 season. On Sunday against Wesley College, Drayton was finally able to dress for his long-awaited SECU Arena debut. The redshirt freshman was even emotionally but was primed for Sunday afternoon, recounting how hard he worked from the 2017-2018 season until now and how he showcased being shot-ready and knocking down his open shots.

“All of my loved ones was just telling me (to) stay read,” Drayton said “Your day-your time is going to come. It just felt really good.”

Towson ran away with the 93-66 win against the Wolverines behind a career-high 21-points from Drayton. Drayton was able to show the fruits of his labor, nailing his first three catch-and-shoot 3-pointers and converting a steal into an easy Nakye Sanders dunk. Sanders, a Duquesne transfer student and someone else forced to sit out the 2017-2018 season, scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Behind an improving and aggressive 1-2-2 press the Tigers were able to force 18 turnovers, 11 off steals. Those same 11 steals were converted into 18 points. Wesley was led by game-high 31 points performance from Evan Anderson, including shooting 6-13 from long-range,

“The first eight minutes of the second we did a much better job defensively and got out in transition so that was good,” Towson coach Pat Skerry said, “Now with that being said we got a lot of work ahead of us, Keeping the ball in front of us, some silly fouls, attention to detail, spacing.”

Picture courtesy of the Towson Mens Basketball Instagram Picture courtesy of the Towson Mens Basketball Instagram

Despite the talent level difference and height, the Wolverines refused to back down on every possession. Guys like Anderson showed off his deadeye shooting despite being knockdown repeatedly and his shots being heavily contested. The Wolverines lay their bodies out for loose balls and to draw charges, showing plenty of heart and grit. The evidence showed within the rebounding battle, where their tallest starter at only 6’5 pulled down a game-high 9 boards. Their gang rebounding mantra helped them tie with Towson at 21 rebounds early during the second half. Eventually, the talent disparity would rear its head and the bigger more athletic Tigers would seize victory. That moment showed up as Tigers pulled away at the onset of the second-half using a 12-0 run to create a 23-point cushion. The decisive run was highlighted when Alex Thomas deflected a pass that Tobias Harris took to just about the 3-point arc before tossing a beautiful alley-oop for Nicola Timberlake to throw down.   

“So, we’re a work in progress,” Skerry said, “It’s going to be different guy’s different nights. (I’m) extremely excited about Quinton. Had a couple good practices and now he’s given me something to think about.