By: Jordan Cope, Sports Editor
The wheels fell off Towson’s wagon in the opening round of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Tournament Wednesday in a 77-66 loss to Hofstra.
The Tigers (12-18, 5-13 CAA) started their season off hot, but they fell apart down the stretch, losing 11 of their last 12 games.
“We started strong and fast and had a program best for the month of November,” Head Coach Niki Reid Geckeler said. “We remained competitive throughout the season against our CAA opponents and battled to the end.”
In the opening quarter of Wednesday’s contest, the Tigers fell behind the Pride (13-18, 5-13 CAA) by 12 points.
Despite Hofstra’s early lead, Towson clawed its way back into the game and went into the second quarter down by just six points.
At the start of the second quarter, the Pride came out firing and took a nine point lead. The Tigers got as close as six in the second, but Hofstra took an 11-point lead into halftime.
Towson senior guard Raven Bankston led all scorers in the first half with 14 points. However, the team shot 27 percent from the field and just 25 percent from beyond the arc.
In the second half, things didn’t get much better for the Tigers. While the Tigers scored the first two points of the half, the Pride extended their lead to 16 points with 4:32 left in the third.
In the fourth quarter, Hofstra extended its lead to 24 points enroute to an 11-point victory in the tournament’s opening round.
Bankston finished the game with 30 points, leading all scorers. Redshirt junior guard Raine Bankston added 17 points to the mix.
“We went into this season with high expectations and although we did not exceed those expectations tremendous growth took place,” Geckeler said. “Raven Bankston achieved four 30 plus point games this season and the program set a lot of single season bests.”
Next season, Towson will return 13 of its 15 athletes. However, the team will have to find a replacement for graduating senior Raven Bankston.
Bankston played in 30 games for Towson and averaged 17.3 points per game while shooting 40 percent from the field.
“The conference was very senior heavy this past season and we are returning a lot of experienced juniors and seniors next season,” Geckeler said. “I am excited to get back to work during the postseason to by developing personal and team improvement plans, hitting our reset button and getting back to work.”