A Rough Week for @Towson_MBB
Courtesy: Mat Schlissel, TowsonTigers.com  
Release: 01/30/2013
It was a rough week for the Towson University Tigers men's basketball team. The Tigers have now lost three straight ball games and had their four-game road winning streak snapped. After the Tigers destroyed James Madison on January 19 at the Towson Center, 73-47, the Tigers found themselves at 10-9 overall, and 5-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). The Tigers had two home games coming up and a chance to stay in the race for the CAA regular season championship. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.

Towson vs. Georgia State - Jan. 18, 2013
When t
he Tigers took on Georgia State last Monday, the Panthers came into the Towson Center for the final time. Towson and GSU have pretty much been even since Georgia State came into the CAA.

Georgia State had an 8-6 series advantage coming in. The Panthers were also riding a two-game winning streak. Towson came in with a four-game winning streak. The Tigers and the Panthers played a great ball game, but Georgia State's RJ Hunter, head coach Ron Hunter's son, poured in a career-high 27 points, including two NBA threes in the final minutes. Towson fell, 71-69.

Towson vs. George Mason - Jan. 20, 2013
Two days later, George Mason came to town. Towson had not beaten the Patriots since joining the CAA back in 2001 - 19 straight losses. Most of them were not close. But this is a different Towson team. The Tigers hung with the Patriots. Towson was only down four with a minute to go, but shoddy free throw shooting by the Tigers, while the Patriots excelled at the line led to a 77-67 Mason win.

Towson vs. William & Mary - Jan. 26, 2013

The Tigers concluded the week on the road, traveling to Williamsburg, Va. for a rematch with the Tribe on Saturday. Towson had defeated William & Mary, 99-86, in double overtime at the Towson Center on January 9. The Tribe walked out of the Towson Center that night knowing they had blown a great opportunity. They led by nine points in the final three minutes of regulation. The Tigers put the press on and came through with the win.

Towson was playing its fourth game in eight days. Maybe fatigue had set in, but after out-rebounding Willam & Mary by two the first time these teams met, the Tigers were out-rebounded by 12 Saturday night. Second-chance points led the Tribe to a 63-56 victory.

The Tigers will now have to regroup and get ready to hit the road Wednesday night. They take on Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va. The Monarchs have yet to win a CAA game. This will be the final meeting between these two schools since ODU is leaving to go to Conference USA. The Tigers would love nothing more than to end this series with a victory. Vince Angotti and I will have the action for you on the Towson Sports Network starting at 6:30

Towson Center Moment No. 8
As I continue to countdown my top 10 Towson Center moments, this was a surprising one. It was one year ago on January 28. Towson's men's basketball team had lost 41 straight games. The Tigers' last win had come on December 29, 2010, in Philadelphia in overtime against LaSalle. Since that game, the Tigers had changed head coaches and a lot of their roster.

Coach Pat Skerry came into his first season knowing it was to be a challenge. The one thing he promised was that his teams would play hard every possession of every game. They did. That was something we hadn't seen around Towson in a while. But the talent just wasn't there.

When UNCW came into the Towson Center that Saturday afternoon, the Tigers had really not shown any reason for optimism that a victory was near. Just three days before, they had lost to VCU by 25, and three days before that had lost at Delaware by 19. But on that one Saturday, the Tigers were able to put it together. It wasn't easy.

Towson built an eight-point lead with 1:33 remaining in the ball game. But the Seahawks were valiant. With 33 seconds left, Keith Rendelman made a layup to cut the Tigers' lead to one. The Seahawks then got a steal at midcourt. Rendelman was fouled, and the normally reliable free throw shooter missed both. Robert Nwankwo, who had a double double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, threw a pass ahead to Erique Gumbs for a slam dunk, and the Tigers got their first and only victory of the season.

A crowd of 881 watched the NCAA record-setting streak come to an end. Getting to know the coaches and players, it had been a long time since I had felt so good for a team. Everyone was working harder than a Towson basketball team had worked in years. It just felt so good to see them be able to get that monkey off of their back.

You could tell that Coach Skerry was going to turn this program around. You hear the term "changing the culture" all the time in sports. Not only has Pat Skerry and his staff done that, they have brought dignity back to the Towson men's basketball program. That win against UNCW on January 28, 2012 was the first step.

On a personal note, this past week, one of my oldest and dearest friends passed away suddenly. John Knauer, who I met as a sophomore at Towson, was one of the kindest, dearest men I have ever met. John and his wife Kate were regulars at Towson football games, and John was proud to be an alum of Towson University. At 51, he leaves us way too soon. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kate and the three children John leaves behind.

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