TOWSON, Md. --- It seemed easy for a while Saturday for Towson.
It didn't turn out to be that way.
The Tigers' four-game winning streak is over, a 70-59 loss to Northeastern toppling them from first place in the Colonial Athletic Association.
For a full gamer, here's my understandably Towson-centric take in Sunday's Baltimore Sun.
As for three takeaways perhaps not delved into deeply in those 600 words or so ...
1. Towson's not toast. Saturday was not a banner day for the Tigers, who committed too many turnovers (19), took too many outside shots (24) and scored only 34 points in the game's final 32 minutes.
Still, Towson is 8-9 overall and 3-1 in the CAA. Things are vastly better than at this time last year. Or the year before that. Or ... well, you get the idea.
Of the eight guys who played today, only one (graduate student Bilal Dixon) is out of eligibility at the end of the season. Vermont transfer Four McGlynn will provide a lift next year. And even before then, the state of the CAA this year suggests an extended swoon is unlikely.
The Tigers aren't an unstoppable force, but they did rebound well (especially at the offensive end) and were good enough to open a 12-point lead in the early stages. Facing a zone utterly confused them, but it will be interesting to see how they handle a similar situation in the coming weeks. Here's guessing they do better.
2. It was a milestone day for Northeastern's Bill Coen. The seventh-year coach became only the fourth man to win 100 games in the 93-year history of the Huskies' program. He's now 100-106 at the Boston school.
That's a surprise. No, not the 100 wins, but rather a record that doesn't encapsulate what a good hire Northeastern made back in 2006. Coen is an exceptionally sharp coach who usually extracts about as much as he can from his roster. He gradually built up a nucleus into a 20-win team in 2010, had to rebuild the next year and started the rise back toward the top of the table last season.
In a pair of in-person viewings of Northeastern over the last week and a half, the Huskies fell behind, made some tweaks and went merrily on their way to a double-digit victory. Some of that's talent. Some of it's coaching. I wouldn't bet heavily against Coen when the CAA tournament arrives, especially since the Huskies are already 4-0 in the league with three road victories.
3. Mike Burwell might need a self-imposed red light on occasion. Sometimes, when the shot isn't falling, you've got to find alternate ways to score. Burwell was 1-for-9 from 3-point range for Towson and finished with seven points on 12 shots.
Granted, he wasn't the only Tiger to struggle with his shot. Towson as a team settled for outside tries, and its offense grew stagnant as it dealt with Northeastern's zone.
Yet with Dixon and Jerrelle Benimon shooting a combined 13 of 16, Towson needed to back off from the outside and do what it could to create opportunities inside for its two big men with drives into the paint.
--- Patrick Stevens