Troy men survive exhibition scare

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Many of the fans in attendance Monday night expected to see a Trojan blowout victory in Troy basketball’s exhibition opener against West Alabama, but that was far from what they got.

Rather, the game was a nail-biter that Troy eventually won in overtime 99-93.

The Trojans struggled to stop the visiting Tigers on offense all night long, and even trailed by five with 2:35 remaining in regulation.

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However, in a performance that was reminiscent of some of Troy’s big wins from last February, Brandon Hazzard was there at the end to knock down a clutch jumper with 22 seconds left to go that tied the game at 86 and sent it into overtime.

“Hazzard, who was having a really sub par basketball game, made some mighty big shots in the stretch when it was really, really meaningful to our basketball team,” said Troy head coach Don Maestri.

The Trojans trailed 89-88 early in the extra session, but reserve big man Bernard Toombs put Troy up for good when he took a Vernon Taylor pass and converted an attempt close to the basket, all the while being fouled in the process.

West Alabama was helped by its sharp 3-point shooting. The Tigers shot 53.8 percent from 3-point land for the game.

Maestri said Troy’s defensive effort left something to be desired because of adjustments Troy had to make to West Alabama’s slow-paced offense.

“I though they did a good job of trying to shorten the game by being very patient on offense when we were in the zone,” Maestri said. “It kind of got our guys a little antsy because we like to play fast. We had to switch to man-to-man, which is not our favorite defense.”

Hazzard and Michael Vogler each scored 20 to lead Troy. Levan Patsatsia had a double-double in his Troy debut, scoring 12 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.

Troy is back in action when it opens the regular season Saturday against Piedmont at 1 p.m.