Troy looks to declaw Auburn on road

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

After four days of practice, the Troy Trojans return to the hardwood tonight when they travel to Auburn to take on the in-state rival Tigers.

Troy is 4-3 on the young season, but head coach Don Maestri has not been pleased with the team’s performance thus far this season.

“We’re just not playing a real good brand of basketball right now,” Maestri said.

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“The timing of this game is just not really a good time for us since we’re not playing well and Auburn is really starting to play well.”

Auburn is also 4-3, but is coming off back-to-back wins over High Point and Alabama A&M.

The Tigers will also be at full strength tonight for just the second time this season. Senior guard Tay Waller will play tonight in his second game since returning from a quadriceps injury.

Waller debuted in Auburn’s 87-52 win over Alabama A&M, a game in which he scored 13 points while shooting 5-7 from the field, including 3-4 from 3-point territory.

Sophomore guard Frankie Sullivan also provides Auburn with a 3-point threat, as he averages 13.9 points per game and is shooting 38.5 percent from 3-point range.

“They’ve got Tay Waller back, who is really one of the top 3-point shooters in the SEC,” Maestri said. “Frankie Sullivan is another guy that really shoots the ball well.”

Auburn comes into the game averaging 72.1 points per game and allowing 64.7 points to its opponents.

“They really shoot the 3-pointer well,” Maestri said.

“They’re just a very good shooting team. They are also a typical SEC team in that their inside guys are strong and very athletic.”

Troy, meanwhile, is averaging 85.6 points per game, but allowing 73.6 per contest.

Troy’s shooting percentage is at 47.1 percent for the season, but has dipped and rose throughout Troy’s first seven games.

In Troy’s four wins, the Trojans have shot over 50 percent. Conversely, in each of Troy’s three losses, the team has shot no better than 40 percent.

However, rather than focusing on shooting this week in practice, Maestri said the week was full of intensity.

“We did have some real hard practices,” Maestri said. “They were very intense and they were very physical.”

According to Maestri, those tough practices should translate to plenty of effort tonight.

“Auburn is just starting to play really well, but I can promise that our guys will play hard,” Maestri said.

Troy and Auburn tip off tonight at 7 p.m. at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum in Auburn.