• 54°

Troy State’s experience in

close games pays dividends

By STEVEN G. WATSON

Sports Editor

Boring is not a word that jumps to mind when you try and describe the Troy State Trojans’ season to this point.

The Trojans, 8-5 overall, 4-0 in Trans America Athletic Conference play, have plenty of experience when it comes to tightly contested ball games or last second shots. If asked, they probably have more experience than they might like.

Three of their five losses have come by only a point, but on the other hand, three of their eight victories were by three points or less as well. Add all that up and the Trojans have a pretty good idea of what they need to be doing when the game is coming down to the wire.

"I really think by being in a lot of close games it won’t be like it is our first time," Maestri said. "I personally think we’ve gained some valuable experience by being in close games and hopefully it will pay off. We know we’re going to be in a lot more close games, their not over yet."

Last Saturday, the Trojans again found themselves in a tight situation against Mercer in TAAC play. The Trojans were down by one, 66-65, with under two minutes left, but managed to remain poised under the pressure and score the final four points of the contest to keep their conference record unblemished.

That poise was something TSU head coach Don Maestri said impressed him about his squad. Instead of panicking the Trojans won a very important contest that could have gone either way.

"They did the kind of things that it takes to win games," Maestri said after the game. "I thought they were really poised at the end, we didn’t panic. We didn’t think we were blowing the game and there was no upset look on our face."

The game wasn’t the prettiest of games for Maestri who thought that the Trojans should have played better. Still after all is said and done it was a win.

"We talked about winning ugly, tonight was one we won ugly," He said. "I really feel that you’re going to have some of those nights, but the key is to make sure you come out ahead."

The "Cardiac Kids" will see if they can pull out another close one as they face off against Samford (10-5, 4-1) who was the unanimous preseason pick to repeat as TAAC champions. They will also host Jacksonville State Saturday, who has surprised the league with a perfect conference record as well in the early going.

"We’re really proud of these players," Maestri said. "They’re in an excellent position and this is really going to make basketball exciting this coming week. If you have any love for exciting basketball you have a great chance to see two fantastic games coming up next week."