Thursday is senior night for Trojans

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 14, 2002

Sports Editor

The closest conference race in America just got closer.

Troy State’s one-point loss on the road at Mercer Monday night, while not dropping the Trojans from first place in the A-Sun, certainly made these last two home games crucial for a team hoping to claim its second league title in three years.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

TSU currently sits atop the conference standings with an 11-5 record (15-8 overall). The Trojans host Campbell tonight at Trojan Arena and Georgia State on Saturday, before finishing out the regular season on the road at Samford and Jacksonville State.

Four teams, (Jacksonville, Florida Atlantic, Georgia State and Samford), are waiting in the wings should the Trojans fall from first.

But the Fighting Camels, 6-11 in league play, are just as dangerous as the wolves snapping at Troy State’s heels. Just eight teams qualify for the postseason conference tournament and Campbell, which is currently tenth in the A-Sun, needs a late season surge just to make the field.

Campbell has won two straight.

"This is the best Campbell basketball team that I’ve seen since I’ve been in the conference," said TSU head coach Don Maestri. "And they know if they win tonight, it will increase their chances of getting in the conference tournament. But the reason they’ve been coming on so strong here lately, is because they’ve been getting contributions from a lot of people."

One of those being Adam Fellers, who is averaging 15.1 points per game coming into tonight’s contest. Jonte’ Edwards is a rebounding force inside for Campbell.

"There’s no upper and lower tier teams in this conference," said Maestri. "Anyone can win on any given night. There’s a fine line between wins and losses for the teams in this league."

And the games, themselves, are a testament to that fact.

11 teams have combined to take 10 games into overtime. 27 contests have been decided by three points or less.

Also, as a result of the conference race, the crowds at Trojan Arena have also began to get noticeably larger and more vocal.

"I think there’s more interest in basketball this year," said Maestri. "For one, I think, we have a pretty good team. And I also think that people are coming because they know the opponent will be bringing a talented Division I-A basketball program to play us. The fans know they are going to see some exciting basketball…three-point shooters, dunks, great finishes. I think that’s helped the crowds."

Tonight’s contest will also be senior night, usually reserved for the final home game of the year, but Maestri said the ceremony was moved up a game because TSU’s contest against Georgia State on Saturday will be televised.

Senior point guard Robert Rushing and forwards Lemayn Wilson and Donnie Pemberton will be honored tonight.

"These seniors have accomplished a lot in their careers," said Troy State head coach Don Maestri. "Robert and Donnie won a conference title their sophomore years, and Lamayn came in and helped take us to the conference title game last year. They are all good kids and have been a joy to coach."

The Lady Trojans will also be in action tonight as they host Central Florida prior to the men’s game at 5:15 p.m.