Nothing went right for TSU

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 22, 2003

All season long, Troy State did what it needed to do to win games. Friday night, on the biggest stage of the season, Troy State did

everything it could to lose the game.

Team leader Ben Fletcher shot two-for-10 and finished with five points.

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Herbert Evans blew two lay ups and stepped out of bounds in the first

half. Rob Lewin missed a pair of free throws with 2:17 left that would

have cut Xavier's lead to seven.

In the end, the Trojans just could not make plays, falling to Xavier 71-59

in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans' season ended at 26-6.

"We did everything wrong tonight," Troy State head coach Don Maestri said. "We missed shots, we couldn't play inside the white stripes, we

turned the ball over early; this wasn't Sisters of the Poor or Hardly Normal University, Xavier is a good team."

Fletcher agreed with his coach.

"We made too many mistakes in this game, and Xavier, like any good team,

made us pay for it" Fletcher said.

Troy State had one of its worst shooting nights all season in the loss and

shot only 33 percent from the free-throw line. The Trojans only attempted

six shots from the charity stripe, but the percentage was still appalling.

The Trojans' bread and butter, the three-point shot, looked more like burnt

toast and mold Friday night. The Trojans shot 30 percent from three-point

range in the first half and 38 percent for the game. Several of those

missed shots came at times when the Trojans could have made a rally.

Greg Davis missed a lay up and a three-pointer on successive trips late in

the game when Xavier held a nine-point lead. Those five points would have

cut the deficit to four, but the Trojans, who had been clutch all season,

could not make the plays.

"We missed opportunities to put pressure on Xavier' Maestri said. "If we

could have scored in those situations, the rim would have gotten smaller

for Xavier. But we couldn't do that."

Despite the Trojans' inability to make plays in clutch situations, Maestri

did not think the team suffered from a lack of effort.

The Trojans trailed 37-22 at the half, but outscored Xavier by three in

the second.

"This team made a conscious decision at halftime to not quit" Maestri

said. "When you are not playing well and you get down, teams can say, 'We had a great season' and lose by 40. This team did not do that."

Troy State ended up losing by 12 to the No. 13 team in the country while

missing 42 field goals, 18 three-pointers and four free throws.

"I am proud of this team for one reason" Maestri said. 'This team is disappointed to lose this game. A lot of teams say they're happy to be at the tournament, but this team thinks it could have played better."