Towson Passes and Defends Their Way to Victory Over UNCG
By: Ethan Hennessy
Towson (7-4) welcomed reigning SoCon champions UNCG (7-3) to SECU Arena Tuesday night for a marquee non-conference matchup in the Baltimore Area. Both teams entered the game top 30 in the nation in rebounding margin. UNCG at 6 and Towson at 26.
It did not take long for Towson to pull out to a lead. This was in large part thanks to their defense. The Tigers forced the Spartans into 11 first-half turnovers. While defense led the way the second half was all about ball movement and shooting. UNCG coach Mike Jone commented after the game “It is tremendous the way they share the ball”. Towson drained 10 of their 18 three-pointers good for a 56% clip. Furthermore, they recorded 17 assists on the night. “We really want people to watch our team and not just say they play hard, but that our ball movement defines us. That’s really been our focus and I’m just happy about the way the guys are sharing it.” said Towson coach Pat Skerry in the press conference.
In the second half Towson extended the lead and the game looked all but over until UNCG began pressing with just under two minutes to play down 15 points. At first the move seemed puzzling, but they actually began forcing Towson into turnovers. De’Monte Buckingham of UNCG had two free throws a three-pointer, a steal, and a three-pointer scoring eight points in 19 seconds. The late change was not enough though as UNCG fell to the host Towson 74-64.
Mike Jones had high praise for Skerry and the Tigers after the setback saying “Coach Skerry has done a tremendous job in his 11 years here. This is one of his better teams, and I’m sure they will contend in the CAA”. Speaking of contending With this win Towson positions themselves well heading into their final non-conference game against a good Navy team. The Tigers have an 8-4 record with three of the four losses coming to potential NCAA Tournament teams (Ohio State, San Francisco, and Monmouth), and the other loss being a narrow four-point defeat at Pitt out of the ACC. All eight of the wins are against division one opponents including Kent State and these UNCG Spartans. If Towson is able to navigate the remainder of the season with only a few additional losses (which given how they have played so far is possible) they could find themselves on the bubble come March.
Up next for UNCG they will continue their Baltimore road trip playing at UMBC on Thursday. Towson has a week off before playing a red hot Navy team that is winners of six of their last seven.