Trojans smack StetsonBy Micah Lewter

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 27, 2003

The Troy State men's basketball team did not waste any time putting Stetson away Thursday night.

The Trojans (22-5, 13-2) kept pace with co-division leading Mercer (who won 73-63 over Jacksonville) with a lopsided victory over Stetson (6-19, 4-11). The Trojans won 117-70, setting a record for largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent.

The Trojans also set a season high for points in a season, set a school record for blocked shots with 13 and put eight players in double figures for the first time as a Division I program. The last time eight Trojans were in double figures was in 1992 when Troy State defeated DeVry 258-141.

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"Everyone contributed tonight," said leading scorer Ben Fletcher, who finished with 22. "That's the way this team plays. Anyone can get hot and score a lot of points."

Fletcher was only one of the many Trojans to hit the double-figure mark. Marcus Millhouse scored 10, LaCedrick Pettway scored 10, Rob Lewin 12, Eddie Baker scored 11, Herbert Evans scored 12, Lovell Craig set a career-high with 13 – two better than his previous career high 11 set against Central Florida – and Jacob Hazouri scored 15, also a career high. His previous high was 14 set in the season opener against Knoxville College.

"We played a team riddled with injuries," Troy State head coach Don Maestri said. "This team lost its two best players and was not the same team we faced earlier in the season."

The Trojans scored a season-high 66 first-half points on the way to a 66-37 halftime advantage. The 66 points also set a record for Stetson, marking the most points the basketball program had ever surrendered in a half.

Troy State shot 50 percent from the three-point line in the first half, 60 percent from the field overall. The Trojans hit 10-of-20 three-pointers in the first half and nine of the 10 Trojans had points in the first half.

Fletcher was the leader in the first half. He hit five-of-nine from three-point range and scored 19 in the first half. Jacob Hazouri scored 10 in the first. He was two-of-four from long range and threw down a dunk that brought the entire bench to its feet.

The Trojans will end their home schedule Saturday at 7 p.m. against Jacksonville.

Jacksonville lost to Mercer Thursday night, meaning the Trojans have to win Saturday night to earn a split of the conference title. With a win, the Trojans could win the title outright if Mercer loses to Stetson. If Troy State and Mercer are tied after Saturday, Mercer is the No. 1 seed.