Troy looking for third consecutive victory tonight

Published 10:52 pm Friday, December 2, 2011

After Troy’s 79-71 win over East Tennessee State, Trojan head coach Don Maestri felt his team wouldn’t have been able to win that game without the confidence of winning the previous game against Southern Utah. Maestri and the Trojans will have the confidence of two consecutive victories to carry in to tonight’s match with Mid-Atlantic Conference foe Miami (OH).

“The only way your going to have any confidence is to have some success,” Maestri said.

Miami (2-3) comes into the contest after falling to Cincinnati, 56-47, Nov. 29 on the road.

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The Trojans and Miami have met only once, in 2010, where the RedHawks defeated Troy, 80-73.

Maestri knows this is a talented Miami squad coming to Trojan Area led by their head coach of 15 seasons, Charlie Coles.

“They have one of the top coaches in the country,” Maestri said. “Not only do they a good team with great athletes, they are well coached as well.

While Troy has had trouble matching up in size with teams all year, Miami brings an especially tough challenge for the Trojans in senior forward Julian Mavunga.

Mavunga, at 6-8, 239 pounds, the NBA prospect has jumped out to a stellar start in 2011. Mavunga is averaging 21 points and over 10 rebounds per contest.

“They have a very, very big and strong team,” Maestri said. “Mavunga is strong but he can score. He is just an outstanding basketball player.”

The RedHawks have nine players on their current roster listed at 6-5 or taller.

The Trojans come into the contest 3-3 on the season but ailing a bit early in the season. Several players have minor injuries but Maestri feels all should play tonight. Steven Cunningham is the only player who will not dress out with an eye injury.

Troy will also look to continue its hot shooting from beyond the 3-point arch. The Trojans are averaging 11.6 three pointers per game, which ties them with Florida for the most in the nation.

Troy has a 10-11 mark all-time against MAC opponents. The Trojans last beat a Mid-American Conference opponent in 2010 when they knocked off Western Michigan in Logan, Utah in the World Vision Invitational.

With a win, Troy can also improve to 3-0 at Sartain Hall this season.

Tip between the Trojans and RedHawks is set for 7 p.m.