Crusaders crushed

Published 10:17 pm Monday, November 16, 2009

Troy basketball won its second straight game to start the regular season Monday, defeating William Carey 104-88.

The game marked the first time since the 1993-94 season that the Trojans have scored 100 or more points in two consecutive games.

Troy took a 7-5 lead on a Brandon Hazzard 3-pointer at the 18:01 mark of the first half, and never trailed after that.

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“This was a good game for us,” said head coach Don Maestri. “This was the most talented team we’ve played since the College of Charleston last season. I thought this was the best basketball we’ve played this season.”

The Trojans led by 19 at the half, but had to stave off a minor Crusader rally. William Carey cut the lead to as few as nine with 13:22 left to play, but could get no closer.

Hazzard looked like the Hazzard of last season against William Carey, scoring 29 points on 9-19 shooting.

Hazzard also hauled in 10 rebounds to record his first career double-double.

Troy was also especially impressive inside, as the Trojans outrebounded William Carey 48-35 and outscored the Crusaders in the paint 46-28.

Senior center Yamene Coleman recorded a career-high 20 points on 10-12 shooting.

“I kind of wanted to get involved,” Coleman said.

“I knew that my teammates needed me to step up and come up there and do well on the court.”

The Trojans also continued their hot shooting, 52.1 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point land.

William Carey outscored Troy 53-50 in the second half, and shot 51.4 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes.

“We’ve got to get better on defense tomorrow morning,” Hazzard said. “We’ve got to come out and stop the other team because we can’t keep trading baskets.”

Following the win, Troy must now prepare for a stretch in which it will play eight straight road games against tough competition, with the first of those coming against Florida Friday.

“This stretch of eight games will be an interesting experience for this basketball team,” Maestri said.

“If we function well in those games, it will be a good sign for this basketball team. They’re going to have their hands full starting this Friday at Florida.”

Coleman will be making a return trip to Gainesville after playing his first sour seasons at Alabama. Coleman said the Trojans should expect a hostile environment.

“It’s a tough place to play because the fans are behind them 100 percent, no matter who they’re playing,” Coleman said.

“We’ve just got to come ready to play. These are the kinds of games we want to play.”