Troy faces tough test in Middle Tennessee

Published 8:38 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Troy was handed a tough slate to kick off its 2011-12 conference basketball schedule and it only gets tougher as the Trojans take on Sun Belt leader Middle Tennessee State on Thursday at Sartain Hall.

Middle Tennessee State (13-2) sports several new faces this season including Iowa State transfer LeRon Dendy.

Dendy (6-9, 230) leads the Blue Raiders in scoring (14.7 ppg), rebounding (6.9 rpg) and blocks (1.7 bpg) and is considered a real NBA prospect. As a role player for the Cyclones, Dendy finished sixth in the Big 12 in blocked shots and is a big reason Middle Tennessee has knocked off quality opponents like UCLA, UNC-Greensboro, Akron, Belmont and Ole Miss.

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The Blue Raiders defeated both UCLA (86-66) and UNC-Greensboro (82-60) in the Maui Invitational before falling to Belmont (87-84) in double-overtime as a mainland team participant. Middle Tennessee would later defeat Belmont at home.

Troy will also look to slow down guards Marcos Knight and Raymond Cintron, both of whom are shooting over 40 percent from three-point range.

Cintron and Knight are junior colleges transfers who have stepped in and made significant contributions.

Knight is especially dangerous due to his presence both inside and outside the three-point line. The junior is averaging 13.3 points per game and is shooting 55 percent from the field. Knight is also collecting 5.5 rebounds per game.

Cintron, who averages only 20.2 minutes a game, leads the team in three-pointers (27-63).

As a team, Middle Tennessee State is second in the nation in field goal percentage making a very productive 51.2 percent.

If that dangerous trio isn’t enough, the Trojans will also need to contain the Blue Raiders other forward, JT Sulton. Sulton (6-8, 230) is an excellent compliment to Dendy in the low post averaging 11.7 points and 5.9 rebounds.

Troy and Middle Tennessee are set to tip at 7:30 p.m.