Troy preps to take on UTSA tonight

Published 1:42 pm Thursday, December 22, 2011

48 hours after picking up an 80-72 victory over Southern Utah, Troy will host Texas-San Antonio in the Trojans final non-conference match of the season tonight.

Troy (5-5) will look to extend their 4-0 mark at Sartain Hall against a scrappy Roadrunner team.

UTSA (5-5) comes in after a disappointing 77-75 loss on the road to Houston.

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“I think they are a really good team,” head coach Don Maestri said. “They play really well on the road and when they lose they just barely lose.”

USTA’s five losses have come by a combined 29 points to the likes of Oklahoma State (OT), Colorado State, Pepperdine (OT), San Jose State, and Houston.

While the Trojans will have their hand full with an opportunistic USTA defense, Troy shooters will be licking their chops against the Roadrunner’s zone defense.

“They are extremely athletic,” Maestri said. “They’re anticipation is unbelievable. Mo (Will Weathers) made two big plays for us (against Southern Utah) with some steals. They’ve got five Mo’s out there.”

USTA was a unanimous pick in the preseason to win the West Division of the Southland Conference.

Troy point guard Will Weathers was named to the 2012 Bob Cousey Award watch list. The award is handed out each year to the nation’s top point guard. Weathers currently leads the Sun Belt in scoring (12.3 ppg) and in assists (6.4 apg). The junior has committed just two turnovers in the last three games.

With the victory Tuesday, Maestri is now just 10 wins shy of 500. Maestri and assistant coach David Felix are the longest tenured coaching duo in the nation.

The Trojans are 1-2 all-time against UTSA losing the last contest in 2010 to the Roadrunners, 81-70 in San Antonio, Tex.

Troy will go into Thursday’s game making 10.1 three-pointers per game. The Trojans are on of two teams in the country (Florida) averaging over 10 made three-pointers per game.

A victory would give the Trojans a winning record in non-conference play for the first time since 2007 when the team went 7-5.

While the Trojans have been slowed from behind the arc of late, Troy has seen significant contributions off the bench. In nine of Troy’s 10 games, Trojan bench players have outscored their opponents. Troy is averaging 32.6 points off the bench per game.

The Trojans got another boost in the return of Steven Cunningham. The senior saw action for the first time in six games after recovering from a fractured orbital bone. In his return against Southern Utah, Cunningham scored 10 points, gathered three rebounds and picked up two steals in 17 minutes.

Troy is set to tip with USTA at 7 p.m.