‘I think our group is battle tested’: Towson Men’s Basketball gears up for toughest stretch of its season
By: Jake Shindel, Sports Editor
Ahead of their final two conference games of the season, Towson Men’s Basketball (19-10 overall, 11-5 in conference play) will look to finish the regular season strong and keep up their momentum going into the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.
“I think our group is battle tested,” said Head Coach Pat Skerry. “It’s a good time of year now to hopefully see that [battle-tested team] come to fruition.”
The team, which left for the road trip Wednesday morning, plays Charleston on Thursday before going to UNCW on Saturday. Charleston (26-3, 14-2) is second in the conference, with UNCW (21-8, 11-5) following behind in third place, and Towson in fourth.
Standings-wise, Towson’s game against Charleston does not mean anything for them. They are already locked into the No. 3 or 4 seed, with UNCW getting the other. Whoever wins the Towson-UNCW game earns the three-seed based on the CAA’s tiebreaker format.
Despite the game against Charleston having no impact on the standings for Towson, Skerry said that won’t change how the team prepares or plays the game.
“We’re not load management, altered minutes,” Skerry said. “We’ll put everything into the game. We’re not even thinking beyond this game. It’s college basketball, we don’t get 80-something games.”
After losing two-straight games on the road, first at Drexel and then at William & Mary, Skerry decided to switch around the starting lineup. He said that Cam Holden, Nic Timberlake and Charles Thompson will definitely be starters, but the other two spots have fluctuated the last couple games, with Ryan Conway, Christian May, Sekou Sylla, Rahdir Hicks and Nygal Russell starting in at least one over the team’s last four.
“We lost those two tough ones on the road, so we just shook it up for a couple games. We’re still in that eight-nine man rotation. We’re really comfortable with putting any 10 of them in there,” Skerry said. “The good thing about these guys is that they all know they’re playing. They all know they’re gonna get in.”
The game against Charleston will be the second time the teams have faced this season. The first matchup came on New Year’s Eve when Towson lost by two points in overtime. Charleston’s Dalton Bolton (12.8 points per game), Pat Robinson III (11.2 points per game) and Ante Brzovic (11.2 points per game) are each in the top-26 for scoring in the CAA.
Timberlake is fourth in the conference at 17.3 points per game for Towson, and Holden is 11th at 14.2 points per game. Thompson is 18th at 12.6.
When Towson played Charleston earlier in the season, Charleston was 13-1 at the time, and they were ranked #23 by the Associated Press when the next NCAA Top 25 Rankings came out.
Saturday’s matchup will be the first between Towson and UNCW this season. Last time they faced off was last season when Towson beat UNCW 79-55. While UNCW’s top-two scorers from last season are no longer on the team, they are still good enough to be tied for third in the CAA thanks to the emergence of Trazarien White, who averages 14.2 points per game.
UNCW is coming off of a loss to Delaware, and has Stony Brook on tab for Thursday before hosting Towson on Saturday, the final day of regular season play in the CAA.
Towson starts their road trip at 7 p.m. in Charleston, a game that will be televised on CBS Sports.