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Troy basketball wins regular season conference title

JONESBORO, Ark. – Troy sank 10-of-10 free throws in the final five minutes as they went the distance for a 64-57 victory over Arkansas State on Saturday night.

The Trojans battled through 15 lead changes and forced the Redwolves into 15 turnovers as they finished with a 13-5 record in league play. Troy is tied with MTSU for the east division lead, but takes the tie breaker by virtue of a season sweep of the Blue Raiders.

“I am mighty proud of this group,” Troy head coach Don Maestri said. “They are champions of the Sun Belt Conference, they get a diamond ring. They guarantee themselves postseason play and get themselves a bye.

“There are some many things to be thankful for. I can’t say enough about this group of seniors and how they brought this team together – believe it or not in the last three weeks.”

Richard Delk’s 3-pointer made it 14-8 in favor of the Trojans, but Arkansas State countered with five straight points.

Martavius Adams started strong in the first half. He scored 10 of the Redwolves’ first 17 points and his 10th gave ASU a 17-16 lead with 10:57 remaining.

Levan Patsatsia split a pair at the line with 3:50 left to cut ASU’s lead to 24-21. Yamene Coleman’s first basket made it 26-23.

Michael Vogler drilled his first trey to leave Troy down two points with less than 40 seconds remaining in the first half. Vogler stole an inbounds pass by the Redwolves with five seconds left and raced the length of the floor for two to tie the game at 28 heading into the break.

Vogler led Troy with 10 points before the half. Adams scored 14 of Arkansas State’s 28 first half points.

Vernon Taylor made it 41-37 in favor of Troy with two off a backdoor feed from Bernard Toombs. The Redwolves got a 3-pointer from Daniel Bryant to draw within a point and a two by Jajuan Brown gave them a one-point lead.

Delk knocked down a big trey to leave Troy in the lead, 48-46. Hazzard connected on a trey on Troy’s next possession to give it a five-point lead with six minutes left. Hazzard made it 9-0 run for the Trojans and a 54-47 lead with 4:18 to go.

Vogler sank a pair with 1:26 on the clock to give Troy a 56-47 lead. Brandon Peterson scored two for ASU with 1:06 left, but Vogler tacked on two more for another nine-point lead.

Bryant hit a long trey to cut the Troy lead to 58-52 with 59.1 seconds left. With 55 ticks left, Hazzard drained a pair for a 60-52 lead. Bryant scored two more to leave the Redwolves down six with just 34 seconds remaining.

Hazzard hit on two at the line with 28.2 left for an eight point lead. Bryant wouldn’t let his Redwolves give up and the sophomore hit another triple. Hazzard followed that basket by connecting on a pair with 17 seconds left. Hazzard finished with 20 points and Vogler added 19.

Adams tied his career high with 18 for the Redwolves. Bryant also scored 18 points.

ASU was unable to score a basket and the Trojans ran out the clock for the final margin of 64-57. Troy closed the game out hitting 10-of-10 free throws in the final 10 minutes of play.

The Trojans are in action next a week from Sunday in the 2010 Sun Belt Conference tournament in Hot Springs, Ark. They will be the number one seed and face the winner of the game between the eighth seed and ninth seed.