Trojans return home to face South Alabama

Published 10:58 pm Friday, January 13, 2012

Troy will look to add another tally in its conference win column as they take on South Alabama today at Sartain Hall.

The Trojans (6-9, 1-3) lost their first three conference contests before holding to late to defeat Western Kentucky on the road last week.

Head coach Don Maestri feels his team will need to be especially sharp under the rim to be successful.

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“South Alabama is the best rebounding team in the conference,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we compete on the backboards.”

The Jaguars are the Sun Belt’s top rebounding team, averaging 40.5 boards per game also ranking them 10th in the nation. Maestri is well aware of South Alabama’s offensive rebounding capabilities as well. The Jaguars are 8th in that category, averaging 15.7 per game.

“Their offensive rebounding is stronger than their defensive rebounding,” Maestri said. “They will go after every shot. They are possessed.”

Not to be overlooked, Troy’s skill under the offensive glass is nothing to overlook. The Trojans are just behind South Alabama with 15.5 offensive boards a contest.

Maestri hopes Troy’s 67-65 victory over Western Kentucky will help boost his team’s confidence level heading into the meat of the conference schedule.

“I think the team has matured some but we still have a long way to go,” he said. “We haven’t won enough games in a row to say we’re a real confident team but we have a three game stretch at home where we can build some confidence.”

Troy will head into Saturday’s matchup just days removed from the 20th anniversary of the Trojans (then Troy State) 258-141 record-setting victory over DeVry on Jan. 12, 1992.

“We got a lot of publicity because of the game,” Maestri said. “In terms of publicity, we got the most publicity of any sport that has ever happened here.”

The Trojans broke eight NCAA record in that game including most points scored (258), most field goals (102), most three-point field goals (51). Troy also set the mark for most points in a half –– twice. The Trojans scored 135 points in the second half against DeVry, eclipsing, oddly enough, their own record of 123 set in the first half. Another fascinating factoid, Troy set the previous records for both most points and most points in a half in an NCAA game the previous season.

And how about Troy’s chances of breaking their own record 20 years later?

“I don’t think a 200-point game will ever happen again,” Maestri said with a laugh.

Tip from Sartain Hall is set for 8 p.m. The game will be carried on the radio by 94.7 WTBF and on the television by CSS as the Sun Belt Network Game of the Week. The women’s team will face South Alabama at 5:15 p.m.