First of three final home
Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 30, 2000
games for Trojans Monday
By STEVEN G. WATSON
The Troy State Trojans will host the giant-killers of the Trans America Athletic Conference Monday night in Campbell University.
The Fighting Camels might stand at the middle of the TAAC pack with a 5-4 record in the conference, but they have been able to pull off some huge upsets on the road.
After falling hard in their TAAC opener to Samford 71-39, the Camels shocked Georgia State in a 69-64 win in Atlanta, then, they upset Jacksonville State just last Monday in a 54-51 win in Jacksonville giving the Trojans the No.1 spot in the conference.
Now the Trojans will try to avoid the same fate as the Panthers and Gamecocks by defending their home court and notching their fourth straight win and eighth in nine games.
The Trojans are coming off a 72-58 romp in Atlanta Saturday against the Georgia State Panthers. It once again solidified their hold on the No. 1 spot in the TAAC while avenging Troy State’s only loss in conference play.
Now, with the Samford win over Jacksonville State Friday, the Trojans hold a two game lead over the Gamecocks who stand at 7-3 in the league. That leaves all other teams with at least four losses and TSU with only eight more games to go, all coming against TAAC teams.
The contrast between success and failure in the TAAC could lead the Trojans to overlook Campbell, especially after the 73-59 stomping in which Troy State wiped the floor with the Camels on the road.
While Troy State ranks at the top of the league in scoring, averaging over 70 points a game, the Camels are putting up only 62.4 a contest and have only one player averaging in double figures as compared to Troy State’s four. Still Troy State head coach Don Maestri issues warning.
"If this season has shown us anything it’s that in this league you have to be careful night-in and night-out," Maestri said. "This is a team that was ranked ninth in the league to begin the season who has knocked off a number one team on the road. If nothing else, we can look at ourselves as an example of how balanced the talent is. We were picked sixth and now we are at the top of the league."
Campbell sophomore Adam Fellers leads the team on offense hitting for 17 points a game. The 6-foot-2 sharp shooter also leads the conference in 3-pointers made, but it won’t be the Camels offense that concerns the Trojans Monday, it will more than likely be their defense.
While TSU is ranked as one of the top 3-point shooting clubs in the nation, Campbell is No. 1 in the TAAC in defending the trey. The also have the conferences leading shot-blocker in forward Jamie Simmons who knocks down 2.67 shots a game.
Maestri also feels it is important for the Troy State fans and the community of Troy to get behind their Trojans now as they only have three more home games in which to come watch what could be seen as one of the best teams to ever play for TSU.
"We have a team this year that has made basketball exciting to watch again in Troy, Alabama," Maestri said. "There are only three games left at home for this team and Monday night is one of those three. It would be great for everyone to see this team play, not only for the entertainment value, but also in appreciation of what they’ve done for the game of basketball in the city of Troy and at Troy State University."
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Monday at Trojan Arena. All the action can be heard live on 100.3 FM with pre-game commentary beginning at 6:30 p.m.