Trojans blast by Hawks in season opener

Published 11:04 pm Friday, November 12, 2010

In the home opener against Huntingdon College, the Troy Trojans wasted little time in getting the new season off on the right foot.

In fact, it took just about four minutes.

Before the clock could reach the 16-minute marker, the Trojans were already on a 9-0 run, as the home team cruised past the Hawks, for a 100-59 win.

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“It was a game that the average spectator may not have seen the little things that we were working on,” head coach Don Maestri said. “And that was one of the things that I was most proud of us for doing.

“It is extremely important that we continue to work on the little things as the season goes on, so that we can improve and get better for when January rolls around. This was a very good game for us. It gave us an opportunity to give a lot of guys playing time and confidence and that is something we are going to need.”

Leading the way for the Trojans was senior guard Vernon Taylor.

As one of the few members on the team returning who played significant minutes last season, Taylor showed just how important he is to the current squad as he finished with a game-high, 21 points.

But Taylor’s performance may be attributed to what he did before the game began.

“I woke up (Friday) morning and I told myself I was going to hit some shots (Friday),” Taylor.

“I didn’t have the best game against West Alabama, so I came to the gym and started shooting. I kept a good routine all throughout the day just thinking about the game. When it was game time, I was ready to go.”

The extra shooting paid off.

When the final buzzer rang, Taylor sunk eight of his 11 shots.

Another player who stepped up for the Trojans was junior forward, Tim Owens.

In his first career game for Troy, Owens contributed 13 points off the bench in 25 minutes, adding seven rebounds and two blocks.

“Our goal was to get out to a fast start,” Owens said.

“We were hungry. We aren’t going to take anyone for granted, big or small. We are going to play everyone the same.”

Owens’ play is one the head coach said is going to be important for the rest of the season.

“Tim had a good game out there tonight. He needs as much experience as he can get right now.

“He has a great attitude and has worked hard. This was a good game for him, and I wish we could have more games like this one,” the coach added.

Even though Huntingdon is a Division III school, playing in a real game was something the head coach said his team needed.

“Huntingdon is not as talented as we are but to get into a game situation, like this, was big for our guys,” Maestri said.

“You cannot duplicate a game situation in practice. We ran several plays tonight that looked like we had no idea what we were doing, but (Thursday) in practice, we ran them perfectly. But this was a good experience to have.”

In all, nine Trojans saw action in the game, with all but one scoring.

Five different players scored in double-digits, three of them starters, as Levan Patsatsia finished with 14, Taylor with 21, and Regis Huddleston with 15.

All of Huddleston’s points came in the first half, as the senior guard knocked down five 3-pointers in a seven-minute span.

“The basket looked huge to me,” Huddleston said with a laugh.

“I think the team did a very well tonight. We have to work on a few areas like turnovers, but this was a good win for us.”

DeAndrae Ross also hit double-digits Friday night, thanks to his 17 points.

“I think we made some progress (Friday night) all the way through” Maestri said.

“We were in good positions to make things happen a lot, and that was good to see. But we are going to be coming back to reality pretty soon, in about two days actually, when we got play Alabama.”

The Trojans will be in action again Monday night when the face off against the Crimson Tide of Alabama.