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Towson men's basketball and coach Pat Skerry relying on freshmen for depth

Many people know Towson’s senior trio of forwards Jerrelle Benimon, Marcus Damas and guard Mike Burwell. John Davis, Marquis Marshall and Walter Foster may not be as familiar, but they could be nearly as important.

The three are part of a freshman class the Tigers (10-6, 1-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association) are leaning on to contribute off the bench. Davis, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound forward, has scored at least six points in three straight games and has nearly as many offensive rebounds (16) as defensive boards (18). Marshall, a 6-5, 170-pound guard, scored nine points in the team’s 81-79 win over Coppin State on Jan. 4. And Foster, a 6-8, 230-pound forward, is averaging 13.8 minutes while filling in for 6-7, 215-pound sophomore forward Timajh Parker-Rivera.

Coach Pat Skerry said the freshmen are key to Towson’s aspirations for a CAA title.

“I’m expecting that we hopefully have enough depth that guys can be ready,” Skerry said recently. Freshman forward Barrington Alston is "finally starting to help us. Foster will play more than he’s played the last couple games because the guys will be bigger. … Marshall’s helped us, and we probably don’t beat Coppin without Marshall, and that’s been a positive, that he’s starting to play better. And eventually, we’ll get Davis back, and we can throw him back out there. He’s playing about 10 minutes a game for us. So you hope you have enough depth to withstand foul trouble or a guy having an off night.”

Skerry said Davis is out with mononucleosis and is not expected to return until Feb. 1. Davis will need additional practice time to regain his conditioning.

Until then, the freshmen will have to support the starters, who Skerry said have yet to play well in the same game.

“I do think that one of the things we haven’t had yet, which is a little perplexing, is whoever our four or five main guys are, none of them have had that A or A-minus night on the same night,” he said. “Even at North Dakota [State], it’s a war, but [senior guard] Rafriel [Guthrie] and Marcus both had four points. It wasn’t like guys got their average. So we haven’t had that yet. We’ve been in games and have gotten over the hump, but you hope there’s also going to be some of those nights when your A-list guys have A-list games. If you do that, then yeah, you’ll be fine. I guess that gets into the consistency piece.”

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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