TSU 70, Samford 54

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 6, 2003

ATLANTA - The Troy State (24-5) basketball team avoided the first-round trap at the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Thursday.

The Trojans shot 54 percent from the field and ended Samford's (13-15) time as a conference member with a 70-54 win. Troy State shot only three-for-14 from the three-point line but still managed to put the game away early.

&uot;We knew we wouldn't get many looks at the basket because Samford likes to run that slow pace,&uot; Troy State head coach Don Maestri said. &uot;We wanted to go inside more to get better looks.&uot;

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Rob Lewin was the lead beneficiary, scoring 17 points in 32 minutes of play. He also grabbed 10 rebounds. Seven of his rebounds came on the defensive end.

&uot;I thought we were fortunate early when Samford had a lot of open looks but couldn't hit their shots,&uot; Maestri said. &uot;We did a good job of keeping them from getting second looks at the basket.&uot;

Samford only managed seven offensive rebounds.

The game was close early on, and Samford even held an 8-2 lead in the first half. The Trojans went on a 17-2 run to take the lead and never relinquished it.

Greg Davis, who led the Trojans with 20 points, scored a bunch of them in that stretch. He only hit two three-pointers but took advantage of his quickness to slash inside for several lay-ups and short jumpers.

Davis may have had an extra step Thursday night as he looked a little more aerodynamic. He shaved his head before the game and the lessened wind resistance may have added to the extra step.

Tyson Dorsey, 18, and Phillip Ramelli, 16, were the only Bulldogs in double figures.

Troy State will play Georgia State today at 7:15 p.m. The Panthers upset the No. 2 seed and Northern Division champs Belmont 76-58 Thursday night.

The other semifinal game will be between Mercer and Central Florida. The championship game will be Saturday at 11a.m. on ESPN2.