The first five games of Pat Skerry's tenure as Towson's basketball coach have not been easy, punctuated by a string of one-side losses against nationally-ranked and nationally-respected teams.
While Saturday's 66-46 loss to Oregon State in the season's home opener might not look much different than the rest, Skerry could take some positives out of his team's performance.
Start with, well, the start. The Tigers (0-5) got out quickly by scoring the game's first four points and still led, 18-17, with around seven minutes left in the first half. Oregon State (6-1) went on a 15-2 run the rest of the half and was never threatened.
"It was an interesting week with preparation and people hanging around. It was a little different than anything anyone has ever been used to," Skerry said, referring to the anticipation of President Barack Obama and his family attending the game. "We thought the guys would come out ready to play and they did a good job out the gate."
What also pleased Skerry was his team's rebounding. The Tigers out rebounded the bigger, stronger Beavers, 38-23
"It obviously means that our guys are giving effort and they're working hard," Skerry said. "Of course if they don't work hard they won't be here. That needs to be the norm."
But in the end, the Tigers were plagued by what has become a season-long nemesis — turnovers. Ranked last in the CAA with a minus 15.3 turnover margin, Towson committed 21 turnovers Saturday. Oregon State had only 11.
"We're battling, but until we [do] a better job of taking care of the basketball, we're going to have some long nights," Skerry said.