TOWSON, Md. (AP) — Towson basketball coach Pat Skerry realizes his team will tie an NCAA Division I record for consecutive losses if it falls to Drexel on Wednesday night.
His players know it, too, even though the Tigers’ skid — now at 33 — isn’t often a topic of discussion during practice.
“I can’t deal with what happened in the past,” Skerry said. “What we need to do is have a lot of guys playing well on the same night. We’re not consistent yet.”
Not consistently good, that is.
Towson (0-14) hasn’t won since it beat LaSalle, 93-90, on Dec. 29, 2010. A 57-48 loss to Northeastern on Monday night set the stage for the trip to Drexel, a game the Tigers must win to avoid matching the D-I record of 34 successive defeats, set by Sacramento State from 1997-99.
The Tigers have been close in a few games this season. They held a two-point lead in the final three minutes against
Maryland-Baltimore County on Dec. 10, but the Retrievers rallied for a 62-58 victory. Towson also gave No. 23 Virginia a tough time last week before the Cavaliers pulled out a 57-50 win.
“We play hard all the time,” said Towson forward Erique Gumbs, who scored 14 against Northeastern. “Every time we step on the floor, I feel like we’re right there to get it.”
After the Tigers came up short Monday, Northeastern coach Bill Coen said, “I think (Skerry) is doing a tremendous job with them. He’s got them playing hard. He’s got them believing. He’s got them executing.”
But the payoff hasn’t been there. After stumbling last season under coach Pat Kennedy, Towson has resumed losing under Skerry. If the Tigers can’t win at Drexel, they can set the dubious record at Old Dominion on Saturday.
Towson ranks last in the 12-team Colonial Athletic Association in scoring and is next-to-last in defense. Marcus Damas, the team’s top scorer, averages only 12.3 points per game.
The sophomore forward scored 14 against Northeastern. Gumbs also is a sophomore forward, and Skerry is hoping the younger players will turn things around for Towson.
“We’ve got guys in the locker room, especially freshman and sophomores, that are competing,” Skerry said. “It’s adversity, but adversity reveals character. What we’re looking for is some guys that are pillars that have character that will battle day in and day out.”
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)