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Trojans beat Owls in double overtime, 107-100

Sports Editor

Neither team wanted to lose it, but in double overtime Troy State took charge and finally rid themselves of Florida Atlantic on Saturday night in Trojan Arena, 107-100.

Forward Lemayn Wilson finished off a 37-point second half by scoring 11 points in the second overtime period of a game the Trojans desperately needed in order to stay at the top of the Atlantic Sun standings.

TSU improved to 9-5 and 5-2 in the A-Sun.

FAU, which came into the game second in the league behind Samford, fell to 9-6 (6-3 A-Sun).

"Lemayn Wilson had as good a second half as I’ve seen since I’ve been here," said TSU head coach Don Maestri. "But I’m not sure that anyone could have played another five minutes. I’m also not sure if the coaches or the fans could have taken another five minutes. This is a very important win for our team."

Tied at 90-90 after the first overtime, Lacedrick Pettway gave the Trojans a quick lead with a basket. After a Florida Atlantic answer, Wilson took charge, scoring from behind the arc and inside. He also went six-of-six from the foul line in the final overtime period. Rob Lewin’s layup gave TSU a 101-92 lead with only 2:04 left.

But the game could have very well ended after regulation.

FAU was up 81-78 with 17 seconds left in the second period.

After a Troy State timeout, point guard Robert Rushing drove the lane, drew contact and sank the shot. His free throw tied the game at 81-81 with 10 seconds left.

Wilson, guard Ben Fletcher and Rushing seemed divided on if the senior was supposed to take it to the hole or kick it out to someone for a three-pointer.

Maestri said Rushing was just playing smart basketball.

"He knew we didn’t have to take a bad shot to try and tie the game up," said Maestri. "His leadership in the last nine minutes of the game and in the two overtimes was great. Again, he’s playing against some mighty quick kids out there. He handled the pressure and got Lemayn and himself some shots. He played intelligent basketball."

"It went in," said Wilson. "That’s all I know."

Rushing countered by hugging his fellow senior.

"This is the player of the conference right here," he said.

Rushing hit two free throws with 1:03 remaining in the initial overtime period to put TSU up 90-87. Back came FAU, with Andre Garner hitting a jumper from behind the arc to tie the game at 90-90.

The Owls got the ball back with seven seconds left and a chance to win it, but Daryl Dingle’s shot was off the side of the rim.

Wilson also pulled down 10 boards for the Trojans. Even though TSU was outrebounded by Florida Atlantic, 51-33, the Trojans held Owls’ forward Raheim Brown to just nine points, well below his 18.7 per game average.

Troy State did, however, win the defensive board battle, 33-26.

"I remember saying this years ago and that’s some rebounds are bigger then others," said Maestri. "We were able to get some big rebounds when the game was still basically undecided."

Both Rushing and Fletcher added 20 points each. Pettway scored 11 also for Troy State.

Garner led FAU with 24 points, while Dingle, Earnest Crumbley and Jeff Cowans all had 18 apiece for Florida Atlantic.

The Trojans next play at Stetson on Jan. 17.