TSU men look for a little

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 28, 2000

payback at Georgia State


Sports Editor

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The Georgia State Panthers were the only speed bump on the road to a perfect 9-0 record for Troy State in the first half of its conference schedule.

That bump was a 83-77 loss in Troy a little over a week ago and marked a game that the Trojans (12-6 overall, 8-1 in Trans America Athletic Conference play) came only a basket or two shy of overcoming a 20-point deficit in the second half.

After the dust had settled at Trojan Arena, the Panthers (8-9, 6-3) had ended Troy State’s five-game win streak and became the only team in the TAAC to defeat the Trojans.

Lesson learned, TSU bounced back to the tune of a 73-59 drumming of Campbell on the road and a solid 75-64 win over Stetson at home. With only the one loss in conference play the Trojans find themselves at the top of the TAAC. That kind of honor has put a rather large target on their backs, however.

"We have this thing hanging over us that we’re in first place," Maestri said. "You have to deal with that and you’re opponent. Everybody you play is going to be up to play you. We know that we’ve got nine games left where all the people that we play are going to give their best effort. That makes the challenge even tougher."

Now they have to travel to Georgia State to start the second half of their TAAC schedule. Something TSU head coach Don Maestri says his club will be ready for even with all the hype of holding the top spot.

"The one thing we’ve done this year, we’re still not talking about being in first," the coach said. "When you have Georgia State staring you in the face you have one concern. It’s not staying in first, it’s how are we going to play well against Georgia State.

"I’ve always believed that they have the best talent in the league so we know we’re in for a hard-fought game," Maestri continued. "The fact that they won the first game gives them no doubt in their minds that they can beat us again. Our kids will get ready to play this game and will be focused on Georgia State and nothing else."

The matchup will once again pit two of the top offenses in the TAAC against each other. Both are averaging over 70 points a game with the Panthers tapering off a bit since the two team’s last matchup, but the Trojans scoring above the 70 mark in the past five games.

Point guard Detric Golden will again lead the team averaging 17.3 points per contest while Shernard Long is hitting for 20.4.

The Trojans sport three other players scoring in double figures in Matt Holman (13.1), Eugene Christopher (12.5) and Robert Rushing right at 10.7 points a game off the bench. GSU posts transfers Anton Reese (14.3) and Kevin Morris (12.9) in double figures.

The Panthers are coming off a big 69-51 win at Samford to take sole possession of third place in the conference right behind Jacksonville State at 7-2. With a win over TSU Georgia State would sweep the Trojans and could possibly move up a spot depending on the outcome of tonight’s matchup between Jacksonville State and Samford.

Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. with television coverage of the game coming on Sports South.

All the action can also be heard locally on 100.3 FM with pregame commentary starting at 1:30 p.m.