Tigers struggle early, but the defense prevails on their way to Coach Skerry’s 100th victory

On Tuesday night, the Tigers were once again victorious in the Gulf Coast Showcase tournament, this time in the semi-finals against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers (3-3). But the game didn’t start off as great as the Tigers wanted it to.

Quick buckets by Forman and Betley of the Quakers started off an early 8-2 lead for Penn. After the first media timeout with 15:07 to go in the 1st half,  Eddie Keith II was called for a technical foul and a personal foul which pushed the Quakers lead to 14-6 after two Betley free throws.

Matters would get worse before it got better for the Tigers as they later trailed 19-9, while losing the early rebound battle. Zane Martin, who struggled from the floor for the first half shooting 0-6, hit Gorham with a pass for an easy dunk by Justin Gorham which ignited a strong run by the Tigers and their impressive defense. The Tigers held the Quakers without a field goal for well over 2 minutes and also picked the offensive pace up as well.

The Tigers went on a 23-4 run in the 1st half after the Gorham dunk to take a 35-23 lead, but Betley of Penn would help lead a scoring charge before the 1st half and the Tigers only led by 4 at halftime. Although they struggled a lot in the 1st half, the Tigers found ways to spread the ball around to get others involved since their leading scorer, sophomore Zane Martin, wasn’t hitting his shots. Morsell led the 1st with 9, 3 players had 6 and another had 4.

The second half was close for the most part on the scoreboard, but the Tigers never lost the momentum or the lead. Zane Martin shot better in the 2nd half, 3-3 and finished with 13 points. However this was easily his worst shooting performance in the young season thus far.

Mike Morsell led all Tiger scorers with 18 points while tallying 27 minutes on the floor. Eddie Keith finished with 12 points and Brian Starr, who played the most minutes for the Tigers (35), scored 10 points.

For the Quakers, Ryan Betley was the high scoring man with 25 points, and only two other players, Brodeur and Darnell Foreman, scored over 10 points for Penn. The Quakers out rebounded (33-28) and out assisted (15-14) the Tigers, but showed true fight in this one at the beginning of the game only when they had an early lead.

Head Coach Pat Skerry won his 100th game as the Tigers’ Head Coach against the Quakers. He becomes the third coach in Towson’s history to win 100 games.

Next up: Wednesday, the Tigers will continue in the Gulf Coast Showcase as they face Georgia Southern in the finals. Featuring one of the top backcourts in the country, Georgia Southern defeated UMKC 78-75 in their semi finals matchup. Ike Smith scored 12 points against UMKC, and Tookie Brown and Mike Hughes both scored 17 points. The Tigers struggled early defending against the Quakers top 3 scorers, so we will see if they can start off strong defensively against Georgia Southern.


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