Tom Jervis and Michael Vogler powered the Troy Trojans into the postseason Saturday night at Trojan Arena. Troy took out South Alabama 63-58 in the final game of the regular season for both squads.
The Trojans (19-11, 14-4 Sun Belt) will enter the Sun Belt Tournament with the No. 3 seed and a first round bye. They get a straight shot to Hot Springs, Ark. and they do not have to host or travel for the first round. They will face the winner of the No. 6 vs. No. 11 seed game, which has not been determined yet.
“Every victory is sweet for us, especially on Senior Night,” Vogler said.
Jervis had six points, 11 rebounds and seven blocked shots for the Trojans in the victory. Vogler led the Trojans in scoring with 13 points. He added five assists and four rebounds.
“Tom has been beat up all year and I think he played on an emotional high since it was his last home game here in Troy,” Vogler said.
Jervis did want to play hard in his final home game as a Trojan.
“I knew what was at stake today,” Jervis said. “I didn’t want to leave Troy on a loss and we really needed this win heading into the tournament. I knew what I had to do and I did it.”
Troy head coach Don Maestri said this game was a good tune-up for the postseason.
“I think the games we play in the tournament, if we make it past the first one, will be very similar to tonight’s game,” Maestri said. “Every play is going to be important and from here on out you will see a lot of hustle on both sides. I just think this had a tournament atmosphere tonight. It was a hard-fought contest by both teams.”
Maestri said it is good to have a game like that heading into the Sun Belt Tournament, especially with the season-high 3,017 people in the stands.
“I think it is great to have that kind of atmosphere,” he said. “You are nervous as heck when you get your first kiss, but five years later you are more comfortable. It is the same way in basketball. If you have never played in front of a packed house the first time you go in front of one you are not comfortable. But the more you play in front of them and you compete and you end up successful that is a positive. It doesn’t mean it guarantees you to win, but it tells you that you have a chance because you are used to that atmosphere.”
Troy jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and never trailed in the game. Troy held an advantage for most of the first half. South Alabama tied the score at 16-16 before Troy grabbed the lead again at 18-16 and never trailed again. The game was never tied again either.
Jervis blocked a Jaguar shot on one end and Vogler drained a three-pointer on the other to give Troy and 29-22 lead with less than six minutes remaining in the first half.
The Jaguars cut the lead to 29-26 with nearly three minutes to go in the first half.
Troy answered by pushing the court defensively and increasing the lead to 36-29 with 30 seconds to go in the first half on a three-pointer from Richard Delk.
The Trojans stretched that lead to 51-41 in the second half. USA’s Domonic Tilford cut the Troy lead to 53-50 with six minutes to go in the game with a three-pointer.
Jervis brought the crowd to their feet with a slam dunk to put Troy up 57-51. Jervis then recorded a steal and Delk threw it down for a breakaway jam.
South Alabama fought back to cut the lead to 61-58 with 21 seconds left.
Brandon Hazzard knocked down two free throws for a 63-58 troy lead. Troy held onto that lead for the victory.
The Trojans will have a week off while they wait to see which team they will face when they get to Hot Springs. The first round of the tournament will be played Mar. 4 at the various host sites around the conference.
Troy will face the winner of the No. 6 vs. the No. 11 matchup Mar. 7 in Hot Springs.
Click here for a photo gallery of Saturday’s action