One advantage teams in college basketball have over their football brethren is the number of games in a season. A football team has 12 maybe 13 games, and a slip-up in one or two games or even one or two half’s, can cost the team a chance at the postseason. In basketball with 31 games and 16 to 18 conference games, one or two losses certainly don’t spell the end of your season.
Towson’s men’s basketball team can look at this fact and it might take the sting out of Wednesday night’s 57-54 home loss at the buzzer to Northeastern University, even if just for a day. That’s another good thing about the basketball season, in most cases you get to lace them up two or three nights later as opposed to having to chew on the loss for an entire week.
Towson will do just that as they travel up I-95 tonight in preparation for a showdown with the Colonial Athletic Associations (CAA) first place University of Delaware on Saturday at 12:00 in the Bob Carpenter Center. Delaware is 5-0 in the CAA and has won seven straight games overall. The high scoring Blue Hens will present a formidable challenge for Towson which is currently ranked second in scoring defense in the CAA.
The Blue Hens feature five players averaging in double figures, led by Player Of The Year candidate senior guard Devon Sadler (Aberdeen HS), averaging almost 22 points per game, in the 13 games he has played since serving a suspension at the beginning of the season for violation of team rules. Supporting Sadler is Baltimore product Devon Usher (Digital Harbor HS)who transferred over the summer from Mississippi Valley State, where he led the South West Athletic Conference in scoring at 18.8 points per game last year.
If the Tigers are to stop or at least slow down the Blue Hens, it will take a better defensive effort than they showed during the first half of the Northeastern game. Tiger coach Pat Skerry felt he was to blame saying after the game, “We weren’t ready to play, and that’s on me. I have to do a better job of coaching.” Ready or not the Tigers didn’t seem to offer any resistance, allowing Huskie leading scorer Scott Eatherton to score 15 points in the first half. An increased defensive effort held Eatherton to four second half points, however the damage had been done.
In Delaware, the Tigers will find a team that likes to play an up tempo game and run the floor every chance they get. This will be a welcome change of pace for Towson, as their first four games of the CAA season have been against teams that have played a deliberate style, many times working the shot clock under 10 seconds before taking a shot.
While the Blue Hens sit at the top of the CAA in points scored with 81.1 points per game, the Tigers have to be licking their lips at the fact that Delaware gives up a league high 77.8 points per game on the other end.
With a win in Newark the Tigers would close the gap with Delaware, by moving to 4-1 in the conference standings, and the Blue Hens would drop to 5-1, making the final five weeks of the season very exciting.
The next week for the Tigers will give them several chances to put some distance between them and the loss to Northeastern, as they will play three games in the next five days. After the game against Delaware, the Tigers return home Monday to host Hofstra (3-1) and then travel to UNC Wilmington (0-6) Wednesday night.
The four games in eight days, basically equates to a third of a football season, in just one week, and depending on the Tigers fare, it could be a blessing or a curse.