Troy men’s basketball travels to face Belmont

Published 9:15 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Troy will hit the road for the second straight game as the men’s basketball team travels to Nashville to take on Belmont tonight.

The Trojans, coming off a 106-68 loss to No. 17 Mississippi State, look to avenge last year’s 98-63 defeat to the Bruins.

“Basketball is a little different in that you can get over a tough loss quicker because you play again so soon.” head coach Don Maestri said. “The thing is, we’re going to have to recover against a good team.”

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Belmont (6-3) has played a brutal non-conference schedule and their three losses are nothing to overlook. The Bruins fell by a point at Duke (77-76), lost to Memphis (97-81) on the road and were edged by Middle Tennessee State (65-62), also on the road.

Belmont has a high-powered offense, scoring 81.6 points per contest which ranks them 13th in the nation.

“It’s going to be tough,” Maestri said. “They have a good team and they have the same team as they did last year.”

Troy leads the all-time series against the Bruins 7-5 with most of those matchups coming when both teams were members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Trojans are also 3-1 versus Belmont in games played in Nashville.

The Bruins made the NCAA tournament last season as A-Sun champions but fell to Wisconsin in the first round.

Troy will look to use their hot-hand from three-point range to carry them to victory. While Troy shot just 23 percent from beyond the arch against Mississippi State, the Trojans continue to lead the country in three-point shot made per contest with 11.5. Success with the long ball is nothing new for the Trojans. Over the last 15 seasons Troy is second only to Duke in thee-point field goals made with 4,166. Oddly, Belmont is not far behind with 4,100.

Point guard Will Weathers leads the team in points (12.9) and assists (6.6) per game. Against Mississippi State Saturday, Weathers was turnover free for the first time on his Trojan career. That will play a key role as the Trojans face the Bruins tough man-to-man pressure defense.

“Our success will be based on our ability to handle their pressure defense,” Maestri said. “We have to protect the basketball and make better decisions shooting.”

Troy and Belmont will tip off at 7 p.m.

The game can be heard on Troy’s flagship station WTBF 94.7.