Troy looking for answers; hosts Louisiana

Published 10:48 pm Friday, February 3, 2012

Only three games remain in the lifespan of Sartain Hall. The arena, which has been home to the Troy Trojans basketball team since 1962, will be decommissioned after this season and replaced by the new $31 million Trojan Arena.

The basketball team itself is also looking for a new look but hoping that comes before this season is over.

Troy is 7-14 overall and 2-8 in Sun Belt play and trying to find answers after losing five of its last six and nine of the last 11.

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“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” guard Alan Jones said. “This has been the toughest season I’ve ever experienced.

Coming off a 20-13 campaign in 2009-10 and a regular season Sun Belt championship, the Trojans followed with an 8-21 season a year ago.

Troy will attempt to straighten the ship tonight against Louisiana. The Ragin’ Cajuns (13-11, 7-3) come into the matchup fresh off a 72-71 overtime win over Denver.

“They have a good team,” head coach Don Maestri said. “I think that’s what we need, to play well against a good team.”

The Trojans are 4-6 all time against Louisiana including a 93-91 decision last season.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are led in scoring by guard Josh Brown with 10.6 points per game. The 6-4, 200-pound senior also leads the team in rebounding (6.3 rpg).

“He is a very athletic player,” Maestri said. “He’s experienced and an all-around good player. He is able to rebound so well because he’s aggressive and goes after every ball.”

The Trojans will also look to take advantage Louisiana’s high turnover rate. The Ragin’ Cajuns have turned the ball over 391 times in 24 games which is the most in the conference. While Troy wants to take advantage of their opposition’s mistakes, Maestri feels his team needs to concentrate more on themselves.

“We’ve got to get ourselves right,” he said. “Obviously, we’re not going very good right now so we need to worry about us executing on our end.”

Troy’s 12.7 turnovers per game ranks second best in the league. The team’s plus +2.33 turnover margin is best in the Sun Belt and Troy is one of just four conference teams with more assists than turnovers.

Louisiana was caught up in controversy earlier this season when Sun Belt officials failed to notice the Ragin’ Cajuns broke from an overtime timeout with 21 seconds remaining against Western Kentucky on Jan. 5 and the game tied at 70-70. Louisiana drove the length of the court and made a lay-in to give them the lead and ultimately the win.

Afterwards, the Sun Belt Conference upheld the result but admitted there was a mistake.

Troy and Louisiana are set for a 7:30p.m. tip. The women’s teams begin play at 5:15 p.m.