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PointGuard last won the day on April 26

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  1. Janeka Aura, late February: The coronavirus disease has spread rapidly to many countries that didn’t act as proactively as did the U.S. These countries are experiencing an explosion of infections and resulting deaths and their medical facilities and personnel have been overwhelmed. Their economies are either in shambles or teetering on the brink of calamity. President Otani provided an update on the disease within the U.S. People are being infected and treated. Those who test positive have had their contacts traced so that those people can be tested to cut off exposure to additional people. Testing is also being done on some parts of our population to determine the extent of those who have been infected but are not showing affects, since they can infect others. Because we have been able to contain the disease and keep it in check, we have been able to provide aid and assistance to other countries. Unfortunately the epidemic in other countries has decimated their economies and is having a trickle down effect on our economy so that our GDP has slowed and some companies have had to lay off workers. Thus far that isn’t severe and the federal government has begun providing assistance to components of our economy and to affected workers. This has prevented severe impact on our population as has occurred in other countries. Within the hospital, as more is learned about the virus, our protocols and procedures are continually being readjusted to provide the highest level of safety to our staff and patients.
  2. Thoughts of 2nd Assistant Coach Michael Snoddy on game #27: Going up against Drexel Dragons, 8-17, 7-7. Need to win one on the road. SG Riyad Hill is hitting a high percentage of his shots, make him work to try to get shots off. Goals (1) get off to a good start, (2) then keep pressure on; (3) avoid getting into foul problems. First half: Immediate failure on goals 1 and 3: In first 6-3/4 minutes we didn’t score; 0 for 12 from field; 2 turnovers; 5 fouls; -4 in rebounds; fell behind 19-0. Then failed on goal 2: After trimming lead to 11 points, we failed to maintain pressure and let game get away from us to trail 48-25 at the half. In first half: Outshot 56% to 29% on FG’s, 36% to 0% on 3’s, 80% to 47% on FT’s; out-rebounded 26-14; let SF Tobarie Flores score 18 points. Second half: Unable to really close the gap until late in the game. And then not enough to challenge the Dragons. Final score: Drexel-81, Towson-69. If you’re outshot 53% to 43% and out-rebounded 38-29, not much way to win. Scoring leaders: SG Mitchell Evans-15; SF Eric Shannon-11; C Melvin Steele-11 (plus 6 rebounds). Dragons’ SG Riyad Hill only scored 7 but dished out 8 assists and grabbed 5 rebound. Let SF Tobarie Flores rip our defense for 29 points for Drexel. Our record now 14-13 but just 6-9 in conference (4-way tie for 6th place).
  3. Towerlight (Towson University student newspaper) article: As part of Tiger Tails Week at the University, our basketball team hosted the Elon Phoenix that came into last night’s game with a season record of 8-16 and a conference record of 6-7. Doc the Tiger, our lively mascot, brought in mascots from local professional and other university teams for a series of mascot competitions before the game and during halftime. The larger than usual crowd enjoyed the good-natured competition by the raucous mascots as well as the music and dance provided by various university groups. Oh yeah! And yes, there was also a basketball game as well. The Tigers, who many feel have underperformed thus far this season, came out flat, missing their first 6 FG attempts and falling behind 9-3. But then Towson caught fire and went on a 16-0 run to go on top 19-9 with 8 minutes remaining in the half. The Tigers continued to dominate and expanded their lead to 42-23 at the break. After the slow start, Towson finished the half having hit 52% of their FG attempts, controlling the boards 17-13 and holding a 10-4 turnover advantage. Jason Miner came off the bench to score 10 points for the Tigers. The Tigers never let up in the 2nd half, pulled ahead by as much as 26 points, and went on to stomp the Phoenix 76-56. Towson outshot Elon 49% to 40% and made just 8 turnovers compared to 17 by the Phoenix. SG Ryan Taylor led the scoring with 17 points followed by PF Jason Miner’s 14 points, and Mitchell Evans 11 points. The win improved Towson’s Colonial Athletic Association record to 6-8 and moved them up into a 4-way tie for 6th place. “It’s been a tough season, so we really needed to win the two games this week we played at home,” said senior PF Craig Smith.
  4. Carla Montaz, fan Been coming to Towson games for 15 years. Had high hopes for the team and the new coach this season. But those have been dashed. Best we can hope for at this point is just for a little improvement at the end of the season. Howard, my husband, went to William & Mary so he’s a Tribe fan. Therefore we’ll be opposing each other in our cheering tonight. I hope I get the last cheer. Would be nice to see the Tigers knock of William & Mary since they’re sitting alone in 3rd place with a 7-5 conference record and likely feels they will walk over Towson. The two teams battled to a draw in the first 5 or 6 minutes, but then the Tigers pulled away on a series of turnovers by the Tribe to take a 21-12 lead. My excitement and glee probably upset Howard. His consternation increased as Towson’s pressure caused the Tribe to take bad shots. But the Tigers were shooting well and stretched their lead to 19 finishing the half with a 45-26 advantage. C Melvin Steele was the top scorer for Towson with 9 points. Towson held onto a comfortable lead in the 2nd half but midway through the half William & Mary began chipping away at the lead, making me uncomfortable. With 1-1/2 minutes left it was 67-63 in favor of the Tigers. Howard was rooting on his team and my stomach was tied up in knots. But in the last minute of play, the Tribe had to foul and the Tigers hit most of their free throws. That resulted in a 74-67 victory for Towson. I was finally able to let out a sigh of relief. Top scorers for Towson were: SG Ryan Taylor-15; C Melvin Steele-13 (he also had 9 rebounds); PG Matt Settles-11; and SG Mitchell Evans-10.
  5. Jason Vickers, injured PF My broken foot is mending and the Doc says I should be cleared to play in about 3 weeks. That would mean I’d miss the regular season but be ready to go for the conference tournament. I’ve really missed playing basketball and am raring to go as soon as I can. In the meantime Coach Fed’s kids have latched onto me whenever they are able to get to the college. They look at me as their big brother. Since I’ve had some free time due to this injury, I have been helping coach Omari and Malik’s youth basketball teams. It’s been fun and both kids are stars. Omari is an 8th grader so will be going to high school next year. I think he’ll not only make the varsity team, but very well could be a starter. The kid has some great moves. Malik, who is 12, is also very talented and is so competitive that he’s always trying to best his big brother. I just wish I’d been as good as they are when I was 12 and 14.
  6. Tiger Blog: Towson visited North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks (12-10, 8-3) so entered the game as huge underdogs. The Seahawks have 4 players averaging in double figures, led by C Bryan Borman’s 21.1 ppg and 7.1 rpg. NC-Wilmington whipped the Tigers 82-62 earlier this season when playing in Towson, so that bode poorly for Towson as well. On the first possession of the game, Borman cut through Towson’s defense to score on a thunderous dunk. He scored the Seahawks’ first 6 points of the game. Towson hit just 1 of their first 9 shots and had 5 turnovers leading to a 17-5 deficit after 7 minutes of play. After the midpoint of the half, Towson went on an 11-0 run to close the gap to 25-22 with 6:49 to go til intermission. The refs then repeatedly whistled the Tigers for fouls which made it possible for NC-Wilmington to pull away again. When the buzzer sounded, Towson trailed 37-31. The Seahawks were +4 in rebounds, +3 in turnovers and had gone to the line 10 more times and scored 8 more points on free throws. PG Matt Settles led the scoring for Towson with 7 points. Towson hung with NC-Wilmington early in the 2nd half but was unable to catch up. The Seahawks then scored 11 unanswered points to jump ahead 70-52 with 8 minutes remaining. The Tigers were unable to close the gap and lost convincingly 80-64. The Seahawks outshot the Tigers 44% to 36% and had 15 turnovers to 23 by Towson. Leading scorers for the Tigers were: SF Eric Shannon with 15 and PG Matt Settles and C Nick McPherson who each scored 12. “We’re just not shooting well,” said Coach Aura. “And tonight we played sloppily and were simply careless. There’s no excuse for making 23 turnovers.” The loss dropped the Tigers’ CAA record to 4-8. The Tigers are now alone in 9th place. The only good thing is that 4 of their last 6 games are at home.
  7. Mike Edwards, walk-on We hosted the Northeastern Huskies (11-10, 5-5) First half was all Towson. Half ended with Tigers ahead 44-28. PF Craig Smith led Towson with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Northeastern’s shooting held to just 29%. The Tigers continued to dominate in the 2nd half and came away with a 77-55 thumping of the Huskies. Towson outshot Northeastern 47% to 31%, controlled the boards 42-35, and held a 17-13 turnover advantage. PF Craig Smith had a big game with 18 points and 13 rebounds. SG Mitchell Evans hit for 12 points and Ryan Holmes added 10 points. While not great, our overall record (12-11) is respectable. But our Colonial Athletic Association record stinks (4-7).
  8. Coach Frederick Aura When we returned to Towson following a disappointing road trip, there was a message for me to call Keiron Stone. Keiran is the SF from Stevensville, MD to whom we had offered our last remaining scholarship. Given my bad mood, I suspected the worst, particularly since he had remained in a luke warm state regarding Towson University. I expected to hear that he had decided to attend the University of Maryland or some other big time program. I returned his call and he totally surprised me by saying he was accepting our offer and looked forward to playing for us next season. He said his parents had attended Charleston University and had pushed hard for him to follow in their footsteps. But he expressed that this decision was HIS, not theirs. Although he didn’t say it directly, I got the impression that there is likely a girl friend who plans to attend Towson. When I mentioned that he might be playing some PF as well as SF, he brightened and said he liked post play and fighting for rebounds. He also mentioned that he was glad that PG Mateen Carroll had opted to play for us next year, because he and Mateen had attended the same basketball camp a couple summers ago and had become good friends. I sensed that Mateen may have been encouraging Keiron to commit to playing for us and had helped sway him to finally make his decision. Mateen also had gone against his parents wishes when he committed to coming to Towson. His father went to West Point and is a high-ranking Army officer while his mother is a psychiatrist. The family is well off and wanted Mateen to go to Georgetown. But while I expect Mateen to eventually be a solid player for us, I suspect he doesn’t presently have the skills to attract Georgetown to make a major recruiting effort for him.
  9. Mitchell Evans, SG: The James Madison Dukes (9-11, 6-3) are tied for 1st place in the Colonial Athletic Association. Chris Archey, a freshman SG, is averaging 15.0 ppg and hitting 53% of his FG attempts and 57% of his 3’s. He’s scored over 20 points in 4 games including 2 in which he’s hit for over 30 points. I’m tasked with trying to keep him from breaking loose. Coach Fed has talked about nothing but defense to me the past week. It was we score, they score, we score, they score until we finally were able to gain some breathing room and force the Dukes to call a time out when we pulled ahead 18-11 with 10 minutes left in the half. It worked for them as they went on an 8-0 run to take the lead away from us. The half finishes with James Madison on top 35-33. Jason Miner came in off the bench and hit every shot he took to score 10 points. Ryan Taylor and I held Archey to just 2 points. After falling behind by 11 points early in the 2nd half we rallied to take a 57-53 lead with 8 minutes left. James Madison didn’t lay down though. With 4 minutes left we trailed 65-63. We tried but didn’t have it coming down the stretch and fell to the Dukes 76-70. We had 23 turnovers so I’m sure we’ll hear about that in practice. Melvin Steele scored 12 points, Jason Miner finished with 12, and Craig Smith had 11 points and 11 boards.
  10. Janeka Aura, February 2020: President Carolyn Otani just announced that the U.S. first became aware of the disease infecting China toward the end of 2019. Because of the intelligence at the time that this might be something that hadn’t been seen before and had the capability of becoming an epidemic, in December 2019 President Otani formed a multi-agency task force within the federal government to make plans on what to do should the disease spread. After the government was able to get details about the virus, she said the CDC had developed a test for coronavirus that provided rapid and accurate results. I was surprised to learn that international passengers arriving at U.S. airports had been being tested and those who tested positive for coronavirus had been quarantined until they tested negative before being able to proceed to their ultimate destination in our country. Those who experienced serious health effects had been transferred to ICU units at pre-established medical centers. This had kept the disease from exploding within our population. She said that ventilators and personal protective equipment had been distributed from the federal stockpile through state governments to hospitals within their state so that they were prepared should they have to treat patients with the disease. Now I understood why we had received this equipment in the past couple weeks. President Otani’s quick and bold action with respect to what is rapidly expanding around the world into a pandemic has set the U.S. apart from many other countries that are experiencing withering contagion and death within their boundaries. Surprisingly she has been able to get various political, economic and sociological foes to unite to follow the guidance developed by her coronavirus task force. The disease has taken a toll in the U.S. but is not out of control, as of yet at least. President Otani’s popularity has gone from an overall negative within the country to strongly positive. While there are those who find fault with what she’s done, they are in a distinct minority. The challenges caused due to the virus have pulled disparate groups together as we attempt to avoid what could well become a disaster. Cases definitely are occurring and there have been regional outbreaks but they have been manageable thus far.
  11. Harry Iacona, Scouting Assistant Coach: Two away games this week. The first in South Carolina where we take on the Charleston Cougars (5-14, 4-4) and then a few days later we’ll be in Virginia to play James Madison. I love visiting Charleston so got down here last week to scout the Cougars and then stayed to watch our game against them. The Cougars top player is PF Adrian Butler. He’s only averaging 7.6 ppg but is the team leader and has yanked down 6.1 rpg. Their top scorer is SF Lee Read who is averaging 11.0 ppg. Like many teams in our conference this season, Charleston’s primary defense is the 2-3 zone. Their defense is pretty good, but they offense has often been anemic, primarily because they have trouble controlling the ball (16.8 topg). Like us, the Cougars have been bitten by the injury bug. In their last game and the game I just scouted, they travelled to knock off North Carolina-Wilmington, which is atop the conference standings. Read, SG Dan Drakeford, and reserve SG Damous Ferguson all played extremely well in that game. PG Jonte Rosen doesn’t score much but is an able court general for the team. I’d like to see us get a strong start to take their fans out of the game, and then wear down their starters because I believe we have stronger subs than theirs. The Game, 1st Half: So much for a quick start. We shot poorly and fell behind 16-8. This was all too typical of many of our starts. We closed to within 2 points midway through the half only to drop behind by as much as 13. When the half ended we trailed 38-26, having hit just 35% of our shots compared to 52% by Charleston. Four of our starters had 2 fouls apiece. Leading our scoring was PF Craig Smith with 7 points. The Game, 2nd Half: Five minutes into the 2nd half we trailed by 17 points. From that point, with our team continuing to shoot poorly (35%) and not outplaying the Cougars in any other aspect of the game, we slogged to an embarrassing 73-54 loss. Our only player to score well was PF Craig Smith with 15 points. With a 3-6 conference record and an 11-10 season record we packed our bags and limped out of Charleston enroute to Virginia for yet another road game.
  12. Omar McDade, Recruiting Assistant Coach: SAT scores have been announced. All 3 recruits we offered scholarships to had qualifying SAT scores, so that’s a relief. Unfortunately, 3 very talented and highly ranked recruits that we had on our list and all of whom had indicated we were #1 their top choice, came up shy of our lowest qualifying SAT score. Their GPA’s had led us to believe that would be the case, but we had hoped at least one of them would surprise us when they took their SAT’s. But…bye, bye. In early autumn we had offered our final scholarship to SF Keiron Stone. He has shown interest but we’ve never risen to the top of his most favored schools. He has remained uncommitted. We have at times considered withdrawing the offer but decided to just let it hang out there to see what happens. We’ve decided to continue that course of action at least until April when we will need to reconsider if we need to go in another direction to land our final recruit. Meanwhile we continue our low-key attempts to improve our standing and gain more incformation about the players on our recruiting list. We do have another very good SF who has shown high interest in us. He’s a JC player with similar skills to those Stone possesses. We also have a bunch of strong PF’s, but we need to continue to work on improving their level of interest in us.
  13. Matt Heard, walk-on SF: My mind is reeling. The Chinese government has totally locked down and isolated Wuhan, the city I went to this past summer to attend a basketball training school. My mother’s relatives who live there say they are restricted to their home and no one is being let into or out of that very large city. We’re all worried about my Mom’s relatives. I’m also concerned about the basketball staff and local players I met while there. The Chinese government has put severe limits on communications for those living in Wuhan. While my Mom was able to get word that her family had not been affected by the disease (at least so far), I have no way of finding out anything about those friends I met while staying there.
  14. Omar McDade, 1st Assistant Coach: Other scores earlier today in Colonial Athletic Association games were very similar: 73-64, 75-66, 72-65, and 75-69. Will the score in our home game against the Hofstra Pride (5-13, 3-4) be like those? If it is, we need to be the team with the score in the low 70’s with our opponent’s score in the 60’s! We scored on our first 6 possessions to take a 12-6 lead. But our next 7 possessions resulted in 5 missed shots and 2 turnovers. We then began setting some awesome screens that made it possible for us to hit 58% of our FG attempts and pull away from the Pride. Since we’d been working hard on setting screens in practice, I was happy to see that our guys were able to do what they had practiced. At the break we led 49-28. Each of our starters scored at least 7 points with Matt Settles and Eric Shannon leading the way with 11 and 10 points, respectively. We continued to shoot well in the 2nd half. We walked away with a 92-71 thrashing of Hofstra. So we broke the scoring pattern established by the rest of the conference as well as getting a victory. Six of our players scored in double figures with one just a point shy of it: PG Ryan Holmes-18, PG Matt Settles-15 (he also fed out 8 assists), C Melvin Steele-12 (he also had 8 rebounds), PF Craig Smith-12, SG Mitchell Evans-10, SF Eric Shannon-10, SG Ryan Taylor-9. Crash patted the guys on the back after the game but told them they now need to play like that on the road. Our next two contests are away games.
  15. Matt Heard, walk-on SF: We traveled to Newark, Delaware to take on the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens (3-14, 1-5). Delaware has no one go-to guy, so we’ll double team whoever gets hot. Delaware held a small lead throughout most of the first 7 minutes of play. We took a lead at that point and then deployed a shutdown defense to get ahead by 13 with 7 minutes left in the half. But foul trouble began to eat into our advantage as several players had to be benched. That allowed the Fightin’ Blue Hens to scratch their way back into the game and only trail by a 33-31 score at halftime. Our leading scorer was reserve SF Bart Rose with 10 points. We started slowly in the 2nd half and fell behind 44-38 with 13:45 remaining. By the midpoint of the half we trailed by 9. We came back to go up 54-52 with 7 minutes left in the game. But our fortunes didn’t last and with 3 minutes to go we again found ourselves behind by 6 points. We were unable to make up the difference and lost 73-68. Losing to the bottom team in the conference, even on their home court, was a big disappointment. It also dropped our Colonial Athletic Association record to 2-5 and plummeted us into a tie with Delaware for last place in the standings. While the Fightin’ Blue Hens were rewarded with 14 more foul shots and scored 11 more points at the line that us, all-in-all it was a lackluster effort on our part. Our top scorers were Matt Settles with 13 points, Jason Miner with 12, and Melvin Steele and Bart Rose with 10 apiece. Again, I didn’t get into the game so have still only played in one game this season for 2 minutes of court time. Such is the life of a walk-on. I was happy to see Bart Rose have a very strong game though. He’s a good guy who gets into most games, but as a freshman, has played limited minutes each game. With starters getting into foul trouble, he got to play over 20 minutes and made the most of it.