Trojans find offense, down FAMU

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 1, 2000

Sports Editor

In the past two games, not being able to find a shot has cost the Troy State Trojans.

Plagued by shooting slumps that have lasted as long as five or six minutes, the Trojans fell hard to Alabama to open the year and then last weekend to Maine University.

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But going into Thursday night’s contest against Florida A&M, TSU head coach Don Maestri said what his team really needed was a consistent offensive effort.

50 percent from the field later, the Trojans took their first win of the season 86-61.

"We started off shooting the ball well and we played team basketball, making that extra pass to the open shooter," said Maestri. "We got good offensive rebounding early on and once we got the momentum we didn’t let it get away from us. I was especially glad to see us hit the open shot tonight. We didn’t do that very well in our first two games."

Paced by junior college transfer Lemayn Wilson’s double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds), the Trojans took a 22 point lead into the locker room.

"We lost two games and we had to come in and win one," said Wilson. "This is a big win for us because everybody was down after we lost those two games."

Not only did the Trojans put together a complete 40 minutes of offense, but defensively they shut the Rattlers’ perimeter game down.

Actually, "suffocated" would be a better word.

FAMU shot just 34 percent for the game and more importantly hit just one 3-pointer out of 25 attempts.

"Defensively, I thought we were very aggressive," said Maestri. "We came out hustling and had very active hands. "The most important thing is we did a good job rebounding on defense, we didn’t give them the opportunity to get second shots."

Rattlers’ guard Jason Miles, a player that concerned Maestri going into the game, went 0-11 from outside the arc and finished the game with just six total points.

"He’s (Miles) been shooting the heck out of the basketball," said Maestri. "But our defense actually initiated some of our offense and that’s why we got off to such a great start. Lemayn, Matt Holman, (Robert) Rushing started off and hit some 3-pointers early and when you can hit those shots, it does a lot for your confidence."

Holman led the Trojans’ scoring effort with 19 points, followed by Rushing with 18.

Now the Trojans (1-2) turn their attention to Trans Athletic Association Conference foe Florida Atlantic, who comes to Troy on Saturday. This will be the conference opener for both schools.

"We’ve got to really hope this game (FAMU) helps us on Saturday," said Maestri. "The TAAC this year is really, really good. The conference opener is a big game for them and a big game for us."

1,158 people showed up to Trojan Arena on Thursday night to watch the Trojans play the Rattlers. Maestri said he would like to see the same amount of people on Saturday night against FAU.

"I was really appreciative of our crowd," he said. "After losing to Maine, I thought we may have lost some people, but we had another good crowd tonight. I really want to thank the students and the people of this community for backing this team, this early in the season. I’m glad we had a chance to give them a win, where they could leave saying some positive things about us and I hope we can play as well on Saturday."