Trojans lose heartbreaker at home to ‘Herd

Published 10:22 pm Monday, December 28, 2009

Yamene Coleman missed three key free throws in the last 33 seconds Monday, as Troy fell 78-75 to Marshall.

Troy led 75-74 when Coleman went to the line with 33 seconds left to shoot a one-and-one, but he missed the shot and Marshall’s Hassan Whiteside pulled down the rebound.

On the ensuing possession, Marshall’s Shaquille Johnson converted a lay-up to put Marshall up for good at 76-75.

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Coleman was fouled with three seconds remaining, but missed a pair of free throws, either of which would have tied the game.

“No one player loses the game for you, but one can win it for you,” said head coach Don Maestri. “Yamene had a chance to be a hero. It’s tough to see him have to go through that. But, I think I know what he’s made of. He’ll bounce back.”

Senior guard Michael Vogler said the rest of the Trojans were not worried when Coleman was the one standing at the line with the game hanging in the balance.

“He works on them all the time,” Vogler said. “He’s not a great free throw shooter, but we all had confidence in him.”

Initially, it looked as if the game would not come down to free throws, as Troy built a 14-point lead a little less than seven minutes into the game.

However, for the second straight game, that lead had disappeared by halftime.

“We’ve got to learn to come out hard and stay on them hard for the entire half,” said senior Antywan Jones. “We just need to finish and keep our intensity. When we get a big lead, we kind of relax. We can’t be doing this against good teams in conference play.”

Troy was able to build a five-point lead with 10:11 left to play in the game, but Marshall went on an 11-0 run to take a 72-66 lead with 4:35 left to play.

Part of Troy’s inability to close out the game was its inability to rebound the basketball.

Marshall outrebounded Troy 46-24, including 18 offensive rebounds to Troy’s eight. Marshall also scored 18 second chance points to Troy’s eight.

“That’s one of the areas we’ve got to work on,” Maestri said. “When you work as hard as we did on defense, you can’t afford to give a team two to three shots every time down the court. That just takes away all the effort we put in.”

Still, Maestri said there was no single place to place the blame for the loss.

“There were a lot of little things that if they had been slightly different, we could have won the game,” Maestri said. Jones led all scorers with a career-high 20 points, while Coleman scored 13. Senior guards Brandon Hazzard and Richard Delk also scored in double figures, scoring 11 and 17, respectively.

Whiteside was one of two Marshall players with a double-double, as he scored 18 points to go along with 16 rebounds.

“The good thing about all this is that if you happen to lose is that while this is a tough loss, there is still an important conference game Thursday,” Maestri said. “The kids are experienced enough to know we’ve got to get back to work and get ready for Monroe.”