Leading scorer, Taylor, goes down in Troy win

Published 8:58 pm Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A stretch that saw the Troy Trojans men’s basketball team lose nine-straight games has finally ended.

But it was not without some stress involved.

Against Western Michigan, Troy saw a 20-point lead evaporate in the closing minutes of the game, before finally beating the Broncos in overtime, 102-99 Tuesday night in the 2010 Worldvision Invitational in Utah.

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“I think at a certain point, everyone was thinking ‘not again’ when we got into overtime,” head coach Don Maestri said Wednesday afternoon.

“When Vernon (Taylor) went down, I think we were a little shaken, and then Western Michigan started to hit some big 3-pointers. When we headed into overtime, I think our confidence was down because of what had happened in the game and what had already happened this season when we played in overtime.”

Taylor, who was taken out of the game in the second half of Tuesday night’s win with an ankle injury that Maestri described as “terrible”, will hopefully be back in the starting lineup again at the beginning of the new year, according to the coach.

However, even with the injury, the Trojans were able to get the second victory of the season, and first in overtime in three tries.

“It was good to see smiles in the locker room,” Maestri said.

“It was nice to get the good feeling back. Even though we let Western Michigan back into the game, I think our guys really deserved this win. They played hard against a really confident group.

“Now, with that being said, we again got some bad luck with Vernon’s injury. We couldn’t afford to lose another body, much less our leading scorer.”

For now, Taylor will be on crutches, while the Trojans will look to rearrange their starting lineup for yet another time this season. Stepping in for the injured Taylor guards Regis Huddleston and Travis Lee, who has also spent significant time on the injured list.

The two combined for 37 points, 26 of which came from the hands of Huddleston, who hit 8-of-13 3-pointers.

“I thought both Regis and Travis hit big shots for us when we needed them,” Maestri said.

“And that is something that we are going to have to get more from them while Vernon is out.”

The winning streak would not continue however, as the Trojans fell to Idaho State in the second game of the invitational Wednesday night, by the score of 77-73.

Troy will take on host team, Utah State, Thursday night.