Troy State on the road again at Marshall

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 23, 2001

Sports Editor

Following last Friday’s 64-60 loss at Kansas State, Troy State head coach Don Maestri said his players weren’t dwelling on the moral victory of playing a Big 12 basketball program close.

"They (the players) weren’t like ‘hey, we played them close,’ they were disappointed and down a little bit," Maestri said about the team. "They knew that, had we done some things better, we could have come out of there with a win over a Big 12 team."

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The Trojans travel again on Friday night to play Marshall, a team which was predicted to win the MAC and possess a solid first-round NBA draft pick in outside shooter Tamar Slay (6-9, 210).

Tip-off for tonight’s game is at 7 p.m.

"That’s the thing about basketball; you don’t have time to dwell on your defeats or celebrate your wins, because you’re playing again before you know it," said Maestri. "Marshall has a quality basketball team and this should be a great game for our players."

This will be the home opener for the Thundering Herd and Maestri expects to encounter a hostile crowd at Cam Henderson Center.

"I think they (Marshall) played an exhibition game at home before the season began and they had about 6,000 people," he said. "I’m pretty sure we’ll see the same numbers on Friday."

Besides Slay, the Trojans will also have to stop the Thundering Herd’s inside game, led by 6-10, 255 pound forward J.R. VanHoose.

"We’re going to play our zone," said Maestri. "We’ll throw five guys at him (Slay).

Junior college transfers Lacedrick Pettway and Ben Fletcher joined seniors Robert Rushing, Lemayn Wilson and Donnie Pemberton on the court for the first time last week at Kansas State. Overall, Maestri was pleased with the two newcomers performance, but admits that the experience of playing in a Division 1-A game may have caused the two to "struggle a bit".

"They (Pettway and Fletcher) struggled some with their shooting," he said. "They might have been nervous or we may not have had the open looks at the basket we thought we did. It might have been something Kansas State was doing. But on defense they played solid."

Following tonight’s game, Troy State will travel to play Maine on Sunday at noon, which is another tough test for the Trojans, according to Maestri.

"I believe Maine was picked by half of its league to finish first and the other half picked them to finish second," said Maestri.

The Trojans’ home opener will be on Nov. 29 against rival and Atlantic Sun opponent Jacksonville State.