I guess I’m glad I didn’t stick around in Philly to see that one first-hand.
Penn State thumped Towson tonight, 78-54, in the finale of the Hoop Group tournament at The Palestra in Philadelphia. Towson (3-3) finished the tournament with a 1-3 record and dropped both games in Philly this weekend, losing to Villanova on Friday (64-47) before falling to the Nittany Lions this evening.
Granted, I wasn’t there, but a quick glance at the box score tells you everything you need to know. Penn State jumped out to an early 18-8 lead and maintained a double-digit advantage throughout the first half en route to a 40-24 edge after 30 minutes. Like they did on Friday, the Tigers came out cold in the second half, scoring only 6 points in the first 6+ minutes to fall behind 54-30. Penn State (6-1) eventually opened up a 30-point lead and failed to score a point in the game’s final four minutes as Towson battled late to finalize the scoring at 78-54.
Pat Kennedy tried to shake up his lineup, starting Rocky Coleman and Tony Durant, but it didn’t change things much, as the Tigers lost for the third time in four games overall. Troy Franklin contributed a game-high 12 points for Towson, who play at UMBC on Wednesday night.
It’s been a bit of an uneven start for the Tigers, as they’ve yet to find a starting five to rely on game in and game out. Franklin has been hot and cold running the point and Josh Thornton hasn’t extended his success from the season opener when he poured in 24 against Navy. When only one player scores in double digits, as was the case on both Friday and Saturday night in Philly, you’re not going to win many games.
Wednesday night at the RAC will be a major test for Kennedy’s team, as they do battle with the defending America East champion Retrievers and their star guard, Jay Greene, who nearly single-handedly led a dramatic late game comeback on Saturday afternoon in their 61-56 win over a pesky Toledo team.
If Towson harbors hopes of competing in the CAA this year, a step in that direction would be a win on Wednesday night.
It’s not going to be easy.