By: Aaron Thomas, Staff Writer
File Photo by: Brendan Felch/The Towerlight
Towson (5-5) defeated in-state rival UMBC (5-6), 77-71, in a non-conference matchup at SECU Arena. Senior guard Brian Fobbs led the way for the Tigers with a career best 33-point performance.
“Every [Towson] coach has talked to me and said, relax and just play the game while my teammates are saying just be you. That’s really encouraging,” Fobbs said.
Fobbs posted a career-high in points, 33, and 3-pointers made with seven. He finished 7-of-9 from behind the arc. The Retrievers had no answer for Fobbs as he surpassed his previous career-high scoring total of 32 points last season at UMBC.
Fobbs hit a dagger 3-pointer with 44 seconds remaining in the game with a step-back that was very reminiscent of guard James Harden from the Houston Rockets. Fobbs was able to create just enough space to rise up over the defender. The shot hit nothing but net sending Tigers fans out of their seats.
This was the 13th and final lead change as Towson used a 47-point second half to emerge victorious.
“We are thrilled to get a win,” head coach Pat Skerry said. “I am really proud of my seniors and Nakye really settled us down and he was really good out of timeouts.”
Redshirt senior forward Nakye Sanders provided a much needed spark for Towson with 15 points and eight rebounds. He was flying around all over the court and his effort and physicality was contagious. Redshirt senior forward Dennis Tunstall added nine points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks to go along with a rim-rocking put-back dunk in the second half. Redshirt junior forward Juwan Gray was a key presence on defense while adding five points and five rebounds.
Skerry made the adjustment to play a 3-2 zone defense against UMBC to limit their 3-point opportunities. The Tigers held the Retrievers to 38.9% from behind the arc (7-of-18).
“We practice zone a lot although I don’t want to go zone, but I think we were so consumed with their ability to shoot the three,” Skerry said. “But I think I have gotten better with not being so stubborn using it because it clearly helped us tonight.”
Next up for Towson is a trip to Washington D.C. to compete in the D.C. Holiday Hoops Festival at the D.C. Events, Sports & Entertainment Arena. This will be the site of the 2020 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Tournament in March and will feature two games for the Tigers.
Towson will take on Liberty on Friday, Dec. 20 with tip-off scheduled at 5 p.m. Liberty is currently ranked second in the Mid-Major Top 25 poll by CollegeInsider.com. The Tigers will matchup against either Akron or Tulane on Saturday, Dec. 21 at either 1 p.m. or 3:30 p.m.