Early TAAC game important

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 28, 1999

for both teams Thursday


Sports Editor

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The importance of Thursday’s matchup between Troy State (5-5) and Central Florida (2-9) is obvious for both teams.

The Golden Knights enter the contest with a losing record overall and are desperate for any win, they wouldn’t mind if it was their first in Trans American Athletic Conference play.

CFU is the only TAAC team yet to play a conference game and Trojan head coach Don Maestri knows his opponents Thursday will be ready to battle.

"They’re going to fire their guys up for us because it’s their conference opener," Maestri said. "They will also pitch them on this is a new season for them. They’re also at home so they’ve got a few things to work with so we know they will be as ready as they can be to play.

"They have a very deceptive record," he continued. "I still say they are one of the top two teams in the league with their talent. There’s no doubt in my mind about that. They’ve played a brutal pre-conference schedule. They might be 2-9, but that’s no indicator of how good they can be."

Central Florida went on a six-game losing streak to start their 1999-2000 campaign, but Maestri feels this could be a huge win for his club if they could pull it off. The idea of catching them while they are down might have crossed the coach’s mind, but he feels this one will be tough for the Trojans to pull off. It’s a big game and that’s all there is to it.

"You hate to say it’s a big game this early in the conference because it wouldn’t be a big loss for us, but it would be a tremendous win," Maestri said. "It gives you a road win over one of the top three teams in this league. It would be a very, very hard loss for them because it’s their opening conference game at their place. So there’s a certain build up to the game in terms of the significance.’

If the Trojans hope to upset the Golden Knights they will have to utilize the help of senior point guard Detric Golden. The transfer from Memphis is leading the league with 17.9 a game and holds the number one spot in assists as well with 5.9. Matt Holman is scoring 13.7 a game while Eugene Christopher is hitting for 11.5.

Central Florida is led by three Golden Knights scoring in double figures as well with D’Quarius Stewart scoring 14.1 a game, while Paul Reed and Jason Thornton are scoring 11.5 and 11.1 respectively.

Troy State has yet to win a game on the road this season.