Trojan sweep in return home for Troy

Published 12:05 am Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Troy University men’s and women’s basketball teams swept FIU out of Trojan Arena Saturday night. The men took down the Golden Panthers 69-62 and the women won easily, 69-58.

The Trojans sank almost everything from the line Saturday as they set a school record for free throw percentage in the win.

Troy (6-9, 2-2 SBC) set a school record for free throw percentage by sinking 94.7 percent (18-of-19) of their attempts from the line. The mark broke a 31-year-old record set against Oglethrope in 1977.

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Comparatively, FIU (5-11, 0-3 SBC) shot just 33 percent (5-of-15) from the charity stripe, but did out-rebound the Trojans 41-40.

“We were mighty good from the line in crucial times tonight and we had to step up in other areas since we were not playing a very good basketball game, otherwise, and the free throw line was one of those areas,” Troy head coach Don Maestri said. “Defensively we really battled against a very tough, physical team. Our kids really did a great job of battling against some really big guys.

Antywan Jones knocked down back-to-back jumpers to push Troy’s lead back out to eight points, 57-49, with just more than four minutes to go. Jones made his first start since Dayton on Dec. 2 and scored eight points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds in a career-high 27 minutes.

“Jones made some really big plays, especially getting some big rebounds. He is a vertical jumper. He makes good reads on where the ball is going and he is able to jump and get there, plus he has great hands,” Maestri said.

Troy traded pairs of free throws with Michael Dominguez three-pointers before Mario Telfair got a put back after an offensive rebound giving Troy a six point lead, 63-57 with less than two minutes remaining. Dominguez scored nine points and pulled down six rebounds.

Nikola Gacesa knocked down his first three-pointer in two attempts to cut the Trojans lead to 63-60 with 65 seconds remaining. Brandon Hazzard drained a step-back jumper from the foul line with 35 seconds to make it a two possession game, 65-60.

After a miss and a Troy rebound, FIU resorted to fouling with 20 seconds remaining and Hazzard was the first Trojan sent to the line. He knocked down a pair to make it a seven point game. Hazzard led Troy in scoring with 16 points and also had five rebounds.

Nick Taylor hit two free throws of his own before the Golden Panthers sent Richard Delk to the line. The junior hit both to give the Trojans the final advantage of 69-62 and a victory.

Troy is in action next on Monday night when they host William Carey College at 7 pm at Trojan Arena. One lucky fan will be given the opportunity to win five thousand dollars at halftime of the contest.

Playing at home for the first time in 21 days, the women recorded their first Sun Belt Conference victory of the season Saturday night.

Kirsten ‘Mookie’ Smith led Troy (6-7, 1-2 Sun Belt) with a career-high 18 points off the bench on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor. She also added five rebounds and three steals in the victory. Kylie Morrissy chipped in with 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals; while Donette McNair added 12 to extend the Trojans’ winning streak to three games.

“Mookie was very active,” Troy coach Michael Murphy said. “She got hurt in Texas and wasn’t able to play much in the championship game. Brittnie Davis came in and did really well during that stretch.”

“I am really pleased with the win,” Murphy said. “We beat a good opponent that is really skilled and could really shoot the ball. I thought we played much better in the second half, especially in the last 15 minutes. I thought we rebounded really well in the second half, and I think that and our defense enabled us to get some run out baskets that really put the game in our favor.”

After trailing at halftime and for the first five minutes of the second half, Troy tied the game at 43 with 14:13 remaining in the contest on a Morrissy lay-up. The Trojans took the lead for good with 13:42 remaining in the contest when senior Danielle Realph buried a long jumper from the right corner, in which her foot was just on the 3-point line, for a 45-43 lead.

From that point, Troy went on a 12-1 run to open a 55-44 cushion in the Sun Belt Conference opener. Morrissy and McNair combined for 10 of the 12 points scored in the Trojan run.

After FIU closed the gap to eight, 60-52, with 7:03 remaining in the contest, the Trojans scored seven of the next 12 points in the contest to close out the game and take a 67-55 lead with just 2:53 remaining in the game.

During the 4:10 of the game in which the Trojans were able to put the game away, they got points from Smith on a lay-up, followed by free throws from Morrissy, McNair and a lay-up from McNair.

Troy shot a blistering 53.8 (28-of-52) percent from the floor in the victory, including connecting on 58.3 (14-of-24) percent of their shots from the floor in the first half. They also shot just 12.5 (1-of-8) percent from beyond the arc, and 66.7 (12-of-18) percent from the charity stripe in the victory.

The Trojans outrebounded FIU 36-35 and forced 19 turnovers in the victory. Troy also outscored FIU in the paint, 42-16, and off the bench 24-10 in the victory.

The Trojans return to action Tuesday night, January 6 against Florida Atlantic University at Trojan Arena. The game is set to tip-off at 7 pm, with play-by-play coverage provided by WTBF-94.7 FM.