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Tournament time for Tigers

Skerry leading annual autism awareness weekend
Posted at 4:39 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 17:27:51-05

TOWSON, Md. — The Towson Tigers men's basketball season has been defined by COVID19. It’s schedule has been paused three times. The latest was a two-week break at the end of last month.

Now they are back.

On Tuesday the Tigers held first full practice since being sidelined.

"The energy was through the roof," said Tigers guard Nick Timberlake. "Everyone is excited. For the guys who were sick the past couple weeks you would have thought they were shot out of a cannon."

The Tigers are back to full health just in time for the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament in Harrisonburg, Virginia. They are the No. 9 seed and play the first game of the tourney Saturday at 3:00 p.m. against No. 8 Elon.

"Normally, I would tell you, when you go into a conference tournament if you’re not playing really well for two, three, four weeks then you really don’t have a chance," said Tigers Head Coach Pat Skerry. "But, this is such a crazy year that it’s not going to shock me at some different tournaments throughout the country if someone that has played poorly or hasn’t played at all wins three or four games."

While Skerry hopes that team is his, he also hopes those watching take notice of what he and his players will be wearing.

It’s time for Coaches Powering Forward for Autism weekend - a push across the NCAA for autism awareness and acceptance. Skerry, whose son Owen is on the spectrum, helped start Coaches Powering Forward seven years ago. Coaches throughout the nation wear the Autism Speaks puzzle piece pin during games. This year they'll be wearing the pin and a special face covering.

"It’s important that we kind of keep it going," said Skerry. "It’s an awareness campaign. Autism is the world’s largest developmental disorder. There is no known cure and it costs the average family roughly $50,000 per year to get the right type of services."

While Skerry will be wearing the mask, his players will be wearing new blue autism awareness uniforms for Saturday’s game. And who knows, if they win, they might just stick with them throughout their run in the tournament.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook