Opponents daring Towson men's basketball to beat them from long range

The ability of the Towson men’s basketball team to get to the hoop is exemplified in the talents of senior forwards Jerrelle Benimon and Marcus Damas and senior point guard Mike Burwell. In response, opponents are daring the Tigers (10-6 overall and 1-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association) to produce from the outside.

As Towson prepares to play Drexel (9-6, 1-1) on Tuesday night, coach Pat Skerry said he has noticed that opposing teams are resorting to zone defenses against the Tigers, who have converted less than 37 percent of its attempts from behind the 3-point line in five of its last seven games.

“Certainly, zones do force you to take jump shots, but what we have to do is make sure that the jump shots are coming off inside touches – whether we’re able to penetrate the zone with a hard dribble and kick out or getting the ball to the short corner or the elbows,” Skerry said Tuesday morning during a conference call organized by the CAA. “We still need to make sure that we play inside out. ... What we can’t do is just fly it around the perimeter and take shots.”

UNC Wilmington, which lost, 60-53, to Towson on Saturday, went to a zone defense, and the Tigers shot just 30.4 percent (7 of 23) from 3-point range.

“We have seen a lot more zone,” Skerry said. “I think we’ve had good shots. We just haven’t made them. But we’ve got pretty good shooters, and I think if we continue to see zones, we’ll be fine.”

Fortunately, Towson’s defense was even stingier as the Seahawks converted just 14.3 percent (2 of 14) of their 3-point attempts and 37.3 percent (19 of 51) from the floor overall. The defensive effort was welcomed by Skerry, but came with a caveat.

“We’d like to try to hang ourselves on our ability to defend and rebound, and we’re certainly going to need to do that tonight,” he said. “The flipside is when you don’t make shots against good teams, it puts an awful lot of pressure on your defense.”

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