By: Desmond Boyle, Staff Writer
A slow start offensively doomed the Tigers this Sunday in a 61-45 loss at James Madison University.
Towson continuously missed contested jump shots and struggled to spread the floor against the Duke’s defense.
The Tigers did not get on the board until halfway through the first quarter, following a foul shot from junior forward Brianna Bush that made it 7-1.
Ashley Perez connected on a three pointer extending JMU’s lead to 12-3 with 3 minutes to go in the first. Three foul shots from senior guard Dominique Johnson, who had five of Towson’s six first quarter points, helped the Tigers close the gap to 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.
“I think we just didn’t have that focus or intensity coming out of the gate,” Head Coach Nikki Geckeler said. “And when you play in this conference, especially against James Madison, you can’t come out like we did.”
The second quarter was more of the same as Towson only scored four points in the opening 9 minutes of the quarter. Fouls also cost the Tigers as James Madison earned each of their final 10 points at the line, which helped the Dukes carry a 26-14 lead into the half.
“Throughout that whole half we just struggled to spread the floor and move the ball around,” Geckeler said, “Defensively we just gotta be smarter and more patient so we don’t foul as much.”
Towson was outscored 15 to nine in the first half as the Tigers continued to struggle offensively. Three pointers from Perez and Jazmon Gwathmey enabled the Dukes to build a 41-23 lead going into the final quarter. The fourth quarter saw a scoring explosion from the Tigers as they nearly doubled their point total for the entire game in the final ten minutes.
Johnson and junior guard Raven Bankston scored each of the first 18 points the Tigers scored in the fourth. Both players were the only Tigers to finish with double-digit points as Johnson scored 13 while Bankston scored 11.
The potent scoring in the fourth quarter was not enough to complete the major comeback as the Dukes would score seven of the games last 10 points to close out their 61-45 victory.
“I’m happy with the way we played later on, we didn’t give up and eventually we started creating space and making shots,” Geckeler said, “Now our focus is our final conference games and we just want to end the year on as strong a note as possible.”
Towson’s next game will be at William & Mary this Friday at 7 p.m.