Trojans win in OT
Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 3, 2008
Bobby Mathews, The Messenger
It was fitting that it took overtime for the Troy University Trojans to finally top the North Texas Mean Green. After all, the Trojans were winless in their first three tries against one of the top teams in the Sun Belt Conference.
But the Trojans rode a furious wave of defense in overtime to a x-point victory at Trojan Arena, and the 91-88 win couldn’t have been sweeter for the men of Troy.
&uot;I think our intensity was the difference in the game,&uot; senior guard O’Darien Bassett said. &uot;This was just a big win for us.&uot;
In addition to 30 points, Bassett hit three of the final four free-throws to ice the game for the Trojans.
North Texas guard Dez Willingham hit two three-pointers in the final minute – including one with 4.3 seconds left – to force OT.
Troy had climbed back into the game after trailing by seven at the half, 46-39. O’Darien Bassett and Justin Jonus hit back-to-back three-pointers, and Jarvis Acker nailed a long two-pointer to pull the Trojans to within one midway through the first half, 34-33.
But the Trojans couldn’t hold the Mean Green in the first half, and went in down by seven.
The second half looked like more of the first – at least for the first 10 minutes. But bit by bit, the Trojans came back.
Seven-foot center Tom Jervis had five blocks in the game – including three on one possession for the Mean Green.
&uot;This was probably one of Tom Jervis’s best games,&uot; Troy coach Don Maestri said. &uot;He didn’t have super numbers, but he was active – he made his presence known, and he caused them to alter their shots.&uot;
Jervis had seven points and four rebounds in the Trojan win. In fact, the Trojans beat the bigger, stronger North Texas team on the boards, 54-42.
&uot;We just wanted to get in there and compete with them on the boards,&uot; Kenny Ware said. &uot;We came out aggressive.&uot;
And Ware personified that aggression.
On a team that often lives and dies by the three-point shot, Ware gave Troy two second-half leads with offensive rebounds and putbacks.
&uot;Coach kind of challenged us in practice,&uot; freshman guard Michael Vogler said. &uot;He showed us the stats that said we’re the worst rebounding team in the Sun Belt.&uot;
Trayce Macon added 15 and Vogler contributed 11 for the Trojans in the win.
The Trojans face Utah State Saturday at Trojan Arena.