Trojans fight past Stetson

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 25, 2000

for eighth conference win


Sports Editor

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The Troy State Trojans might have pulled out another double-digit win Monday night, but their fight with Stetson wasn’t all cream filling.

In a physical contest with the Hatters, the Trojans (12-6 overall, 8-1 in Trans America Athletic Conference play) picked up their sixth win in seven games 75-64. The victory gave TSU sole possession of the No. 1 spot in the TAAC after Jacksonville State dropped its matchup with Campbell earlier in the evening.

With star point guard Detric Golden suffering from flu-like symptoms, but still in the lineup, TSU had to find some role players down the stretch and sophomore Donnie Pemberton filled the bill.

The 6-foot-6, 205-pound Pemberton had to match up against the wide bodies of Sebastian Singletary (6-5, 240) and Santos Hampton (6-7, 260) and before the end had more than gained their respect.

"Those are some big ole guys down there," Pemberton said. "If you back down from someone big like that they’re just going to eat you alive. You’ve just got to stand your ground and pray you hold on. I got my fair-share of bruises tonight, trust me."

The smaller forward banged down low with the bigger Hatters, dove after loose balls and did all the little things many times go unnoticed. This time they didn’t, however, as the Trojans depended on Pemberton offensively as well.

He scored a game-high 18 points to go with his outstanding defensive play and TSU overcame it’s early shooting problems to finish up strong.

"He’s one of the hardest playing basketball players I’ve ever been around," TSU head coach Don Maestri said of Pemberton. "I don’t think you could play any harder than Donnie Pemberton plays. It does have an effect on the rest of our guys. It’s a lift for all of them. Those energy things are really what make you a great team."

"I try to bring some intensity to the game," Pemberton said. "I’m not the most athletic player, but I feel like I can make it exciting, get some loose ball and do the dirty work."

Pemberton brought Troy State back almost single-handedly in the first half as the Trojans found themselves down by as much as nine points at one point. He scored six-straight points to knot the score at 31-31 and watched as Robert Rushing came off the bench to hit one of his five 3-pointers to tie the game at 36-36 just before the half.

Troy State ran away with things late in the second. The Trojans got down by as much as seven, but they put together a 12-0 run, highlighted by three Rushing treys, and never looked back.

Even sick, Golden played his part in the Trojan victory. He dished out an amazing 11 assists in the ball game while scoring only seven. He also was tops on minutes played with 37. Eugene Christopher finished with 17 points and Rushing had a big night as well notching 16.

Next up for the Trojans will be a road trip to Georgia State. The game will be a rematch with the only team to beat TSU in TAAC play so far. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday with television coverage coming on Sports South.