Troy readies to tangle with No. 17 Miss St.

Published 9:09 pm Monday, December 5, 2011

The Troy men’s basketball team is rolling at home but will look to take their hot long-range shooting on the road as they travel to face No. 17 Mississippi State on Saturday.

“They are one of the best teams in the country,” head coach Don Maestri said. “They have beaten some quality opponents and won a tournament so they have earned their ranking.”

The Bulldogs (8-1) knocked off then 18th ranked Texas A&M and 16th ranked Arizona in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer to win the tournament.

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Troy started the season 1-3 before their current three game win streak began.

During the run the Trojans (4-3) have shot 43 percent from three-point range and are second in the nation in three-point shots made. The team leads the nation in three-pointers made per game with 12.

“We are going to have to shoot well and not let them get comfortable on their home court,” Maestri said. “They are very aggressive and play tough basketball.”

Maestri praised his team’s patience in their 73-60 victory over Miami (OH) Saturday.

“I thought we moved the ball extremely well,” he said. “If a shot wasn’t there we moved it on to the next open man.”

The patience paid off as the Trojans shot 455 percent from the field and knocked down 14 of 26 three-pointers.

“We’re going to have to be even more patient than normal against Mississippi State,” said Maestri. “They are going to try and force mistakes so we have got to take care of the basketball.

It’s going to take an exceptional game on our part and hope they have an off night.”

The Bulldogs are led by senior guard Dee Bost. Bost is averaging 17 points per game including a season high of 21 against Louisiana-Monroe.

Junior forward Arnett Moultrie will also be a key factor for the Trojans to account for. Moultrie (6-11) is an imposing inside player averaging over 16 points per contest as well as 11 rebounds.

“They are big inside and fast outside,” Maestri said. “They have super athletes that we have to slow down.”

Troy is 0-8 all-time versus Mississippi State.

The game will be televised on SportSouth and is set for a 3 p.m. tip.