By: Morgan Cuthbertson and Mitch Nazimok
NEWARK, Del. — Towson University Men’s Basketball fell to conference rival University of Delaware 72-59 on Wednesday evening.
Now sitting at 2-2, the team snapped a two-game winning streak. Both teams were missing key players, with Guard Cam Holden out for the Tigers and Guard Jameer Nelson Jr. for the Blue Hens.
“It’s really hard to win any game when you perform like that,” Head Coach Pat Skerry said. “We didn’t guard the ball, our post defense wasn’t there, we got taken to the woodshed.”
Delaware rushed out to a 7-0 lead behind two easy lay-ups from Forward Jyare Davis and Guard LJ Owens, followed by a three-pointer from Guard Ebby Asamoah. Towson Head Coach Pat Skerry was forced to call his team’s first timeout of the game.
Guard Nicolas Timberlake cut the Tigers deficit to four after hitting from behind the arch right after the timeout. Towson quickly tied the game up at seven, just under the 15-minute mark, going on a 7-0 run out of the timeout.
The Blue Hens went on another scoring run of their own, scoring 11 straight points before Timberlake hit a tough jumper for the Tigers at the 10:53 mark, making the score 18-9.
Davis quickly converted an easy lay-up for the Blue Hens before Freshman Christian May answered with a three-pointer for the Tigers. Delaware went on another 7-0 run and 20-5 run over 7:48 to jump out to a 27-12 lead with 7:42 to play in the half.
Timberlake and Guard Gianmarco Arletti exchanged threes before Guard Nygal Russell converted an and-one for Towson on a reverse lay-up to make the score 32-21.
Both teams ended the half in a scoring drought as neither team scored for the last 2:51. Delaware led at the half 39-26 behind Guard Christian Ray’s 10 points and five rebounds. Russell led Towson with eight points and three rebounds.
The Blue Hens shot 64% from the field and 88% from the free throw line, while the Tigers finished 32% from the field and 71% from the free throw line.
Towson came out hot to start the second half hitting their first three shots. Forward/Guard Sekou Sylla converted on a lay-up as Davis responded with a jumper for the Blue Hens. Timberlake converted an and-one on a jumper cutting Delaware’s lead to ten and making the score 41-31.
The Tigers were able to hold the Blue Hens to a 2:13 scoring drought and cut their lead to seven with a second-chance lay-up from Tyler Coleman. Owens put an end to the Blue Hens’ drought with a pull-up jumper increasing Delaware’s lead back to nine.
May started to come alive for the Tigers, hitting a free throw and a three-pointer to make the score 50-44 with 12:50 left to go in the game. On the Tigers next possession, Forward Charles Thompson grabbed three offensive rebounds before connecting on a putback lay-up in the paint to bring Towson within four.
Delaware responded with a quick lay-up before May converted on a dunk, continuing the spark of Towson’s offense and cutting the Blue Hens’ lead back to four.
“[May’s] got a good chance to be a really good player,” Skerry said. “He was clearly our best player on the floor.”
The Blue Hens were then able to hold the Tigers to a 3:13 scoring drought and increase their lead to nine with 5:44 left. A solid bounce pass from May led to an easy Thompson lay-up, cutting the Blue Hens’ lead to just seven before Ray converted on an easy lay-up in the paint to put the Blue Hens back up by nine.
May hit a mid-range jumper at the 2:14 mark for his 13th point of the night, cutting Delaware’s lead to seven again. Towson called a timeout to put a full-court press on the Blue Hens’ but ended up fouling on the inbound, sending Arletti to the free-throw line for two.
Arletti converted both free throws to put Delaware up by nine, 64-55, with 1:47 left in regulation.
The Blue Hens held on to their lead, defeating the Tigers 72-59. The Blue Hens finished 51% from the field and 91% from the free-throw line. The Tigers finished 35.1% from the field and stayed steady at the free-throw line from halftime at roughly 71%.
Delaware’s Ray led all scorers with 18 points and seven rebounds, followed by 17 points from Asamoah and 16 points from Davis. The Tigers were led by May with 13 points off of the bench.
“The inconsistency in our execution means we just gotta keep practicing, so we can get better,” Skerry said. “The measuring stick will be how much better of a team we become Saturday, a week, two weeks or in two months.”
The Tigers continue conference play with a game against Monmouth University at SECU Arena on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 3:00 p.m.