Since achieving the third-best start in school history with a 7-1 record, the Towson men's basketball team has lost two straight games.
A 78-46 blowout at Georgetown on Dec. 7 ended the Tigers' bid to match the second-best start in school history, and a 76-64 loss at Temple on Dec. 10 compounded the disappointment.
Still, the Tigers trailed, 25-20, at halftime against the Owls (6-4) and stayed within striking distance for much of the second half before running out of steam. But coach Pat Skerry said that is of little comfort to the players and coaches.
"We're not into any moral victories, and our guys know that," he said Wednesday afternoon. "But I also told them that the way we played against Temple could win us a lot of games.
"It was our defensive effort and our rebounding against a very well-coached club that allowed us to be in the game. That's been a constant search for us the last couple of years, and that's something we need to continue to do. We're still playing a lot of guys, and I think slowly we're doing some things to help our flow."
Towson can return to its winning ways when La Salle (5-4) visits SECU Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday. But Skerry pointed out that coach John Giannini guided the Explorers to a Sweet 16 berth as a No. 13 seed in the 2013 NCAA tournament.
"So we know we're going to have to play very well," Skerry said. "It's a good measuring stick and a tough game [for us] coming out of exams. We want to play tough games before our conference starts. That's why we had an Alabama, a Temple, a Georgetown, a LaSalle [on the schedule]. Those are tough games that get you ready for [Colonial Athletic Association] play.
"But we always talk to our guys about playing the right way and doing what we do. We never say that we expect to win. I expect them to win every drill in practice, but how you win is by doing the right things and honoring the process.
Latest College Basketball
"With our defense, our ability on the backboards, and our execution, if those things are in place, then we'll be in position to win games. But those La Salle guys will play well, too. It's two good teams, the game will be hard-fought, and hopefully, there will be a good turnout here on Saturday night."