After winning the first Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic in Northern Ireland, the Tigers are now off to their best start since 1979.
Update: Mike Morsell hit a 12-foot baseline jumper with 1.2 seconds remaining to lift TU to a thrilling, 56-55, victory over Manhattan in the championship game of the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic at SSE Arena Saturday night.
After playing after playing seven games in 15 days on two continents, the Tigers have now won eight in a row, which is the program's longest winning streak since 1993. And at 8-1, TU is off to its best start since the 1979 season.
The Tigers also received a vote in the Associated Press Top 25 College Basketball Poll. This is only the second time in school history that the Tigers have received a AP Top 25 poll vote.
Here are a few highlights and recaps from the Tigers big weekend in Belfast:
Original Story: When the 2017-18 season is over, the Towson University men’s basketball team will have logged a lot of miles at home and abroad.
This weekend, the Tigers will take their longest road trip of the year when they travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland, to compete in the first Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic at the SSE Arena.
It will be the third long road trip of the year for the men’s basketball team. This past summer the Tigers traveled to Canada for an exhibition tour — playing universities from Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec. The team also traveled to southwest Florida earlier in the season to compete in the Florida Gulf Coast Showcase, where the Tigers came away with the first-place trophy.
The Tigers are excited to explore historic Belfast. They are also excited for a chance to bring home more hardware.
“I think it's cool to play games in another country,” Towson senior guard Eddie Keith II said. “We've experienced this before in Canada, so I think that gives us a little advantage. I am just excited and thankful for the chance to travel to a nice city like Belfast.”
The Belfast Classic is held in conjunction with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC); Sport Changes Life; Rory McIlroy's foundation, the Rory Foundation; and The SSE Arena, Belfast.
The Tigers (6-1) will play La Salle (4-3) Friday at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). Holy Cross (2-3) and Manhattan (2-4) meet in the other contest, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Friday. The winners of each game will play Saturday at noon EST, and the losers will battle at 9:30 a.m. EST.
All four games will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network, which makes this event special.
TU will bring a six-game winning streak with it across the Atlantic Ocean. The Tigers
have scored 70 or more points in six consecutive games and are ranked third nationally
in 3-point field goal defensive percentage (20.2).
Sophomore guard Zane Martin leads TU in scoring with a 16.7 point per game average. He has scored 20 or more points three times this season. Also averaging double figures for the Tigers are senior guards Mike Morsell (12.9) and Brian Starr (10.4).
TU has had at least seven different players enjoy a double-digit scoring game at some point this season.
“Knowing the obstacles that we've all been through to get to where we are and play basketball at high level is exciting,” Martin said. “Being here at Towson, I've been blessed with great experiences, opportunities to travel and great coaches. I am just grateful for being in the position that I am in.”
This will be the longest trip of the season, with 3,333 miles separating Towson from Belfast, which is situated at the mouth of the River Lagan on Belfast Lough and surrounded by Northern Ireland’s low hills. One adjustment will be getting used to the bus driving on the left side of the road.
But it should be a memorable trip on and off the court for the Tigers, who will mix in a community service engagement at a local school and some sightseeing before getting down to the business of extending their winning streak.
“It's going to be different,” Morsell said. “It was hot in Florida, and I heard it's going to be cold in Ireland. None of us have ever been to Northern Ireland before so it's going to be a good experience.”