Trojans look to improve record at Sartain

Published 10:57 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012

After a tough stretch on the road, the Troy men’s basketball team is ready to play on their home court. The Trojans fell to both Middle Tennessee State and South Alabama last week but return to Sartain Hall ready to please the Trojan faithful.

“It’s always important to get back home and to play well at home,” Maestri said. “We didn’t play particularly well last time we were here and I think you should play better at home.”

Troy is 5-4 on its home floor this season with the four losses coming in consecutive fashion marking the longest such streak at Sartain since 1986-87. The Trojans were 5-6 at home during last season’s 8-21 campaign but were 21-5 the two seasons prior.

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Troy is coming off a difficult loss to South Alabama in which the Trojans erased a 20-point deficit in the second half but Augustine Rubit’s bucket with 1.8 seconds remaining would give the Jaguars the victory.

The Trojans (7-13, 2-7) open a three-game homestand on Thursday with Florida International.

The Golden Panthers are a much larger squad averaging 6-10 at the forward and center positions, Tim Owens, at 6-9, is the only player on Troy’s roster to reaching over 6-5.

To counter Florida International’s vertical advantage, Maestri feels his team must shot the ball well in order to be successful.

“We’ve got to score more,” Maestri said. “We’ve missed some open shots and I don’t really know why.”

Maestri, who is looking to earn his 299th victory at Sartain Hall, feels this team has quality shooters and referenced the Jan. 21 match against Louisiana-Monroe in which the Trojans tied an NCAA record by hitting 11 consecutive three-point shots.

Troy has performed well in some statistical areas. The Trojans rank second in the Sun Belt Conference and ninth in the nation in offensive rebounding. Troy is also still at the top of the ranks in three-points shooting, standing third nationally with 9.7 long-range baskets per game.

The Trojans look to even up the all-time series with FIU as the Golden Panthers are 6-5 in previous matchups against Troy.

Florida International defeated the Trojans twice last season in overtime.

Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.

The Troy women’s team is set to tip with FIU at 5:15 p.m.