Troy men host Georgia State, women play Alabama at Trojan Arena on tonight

Published 10:13 pm Friday, December 14, 2012

Trojan Arena will be busy on Saturday. A day after hosting its first graduating class, the home of the Troy basketball team will be the site of a men’s and women’s doubleheader.

Troy men’s basketball team (4-7, 0-2 Sun Belt) hosts Georgia State (5-4, 0-0 CAA) on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Trojan Arena. The Trojans are looking to snap a five-game skid with their final non-conference home game of the season.

Troy was defeated by Alabama State, 74-68, on Thursday night in Mongomery, Ala. Tevin Calhoun led the way with 13 points off the bench. The Trojans trailed for most of the game, due largely to the Hornets shooting 58.8 percent from beyond the arc. Troy cut the lead to six in the final minute, but ran out of time on a comeback.

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Hunter Williams continues to lead the team in scoring, at 10.8 points per game. Emil Jones is grabbing 5.7 boards per game, the most on the team. Troy has four players (Calhoun, Williams, Deonata Jethroe and R.J. Scott) that are hitting at least one 3-pointer per game this season.

Georgia State comes into the matchup having won two straight, defeating Liberty and Southern Poly. The Panthers also defeated long-time Troy rival South Alabama, 75-73, earlier in the season. GSU is led by Devonta White’s 15.1 points per game. R.J. Hunter is scoring 15.0 points and grabbing 6.0 boards per game.

Troy is 17-15 all-time against the Panthers, with the last meeting coming during the 2010-11 season, a Panthers win. The Georgia State Panthers will make the move to the Sun Belt Conference next season.

For the first time in over 15 years, the Troy women’s basketball program is hosting an SEC opponent as Alabama visits Trojan Arena on Saturday for a 2 p.m. contest.

For Troy, the game against Alabama marks the second of three against SEC opponents this month, but the first at home since the Trojans hosted, and defeated, Mississippi State in their season opener in 1997-98.

Although the Troy women’s basketball team is hosting its first SEC opponent in over 15 years, Trojan Arena is hosting its second in just 10 games as the Troy men’s basketball team opened the building with a 56-53 win over Mississippi State just over a month ago.

The Troy (2-6) women will look to equal that mark in their second straight home game with the last being a 90-88 win over Alabama State last Sunday. Sophomore Kourtney Coleman’s offensive rebound and buzzer-beating lay-in gave Troy the dramatic win in that contest.

Coleman finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, but junior Britney McCloud was the story of the night, scoring a career-high 26 points, including 21 in the second half. McCloud was 3-of-4 from deep against the Hornets, and in her last two games, she is 7-of-9 from range.

The Trojans enter Saturday’s contest averaging 80.0 points per game, the most in the Sun Belt and ninth most in the nation while also leading the Sun Belt with 43.9 rebounds per game.

Saturday’s game promises to be a high-scoring affair as Alabama (5-2) comes in averaging 76.4 points per game, third best in the SEC and 21st in the nation.

The Crimson Tide does allow an SEC worst 52.4 rebounds per game, but they force 31.0 turnovers per game for a +15.0 turnover margin, the best in the nation. Alabama’s 17.1 steals per game also leads the country.

The Trojans coaching staff is very familiar with a couple of Alabama players as Meghan Perkins and Jessica Merritt each played for Troy head coach Chanda Rigby and assistant coach Kayla Ard at Pensacola State in 2010-11.

Perkins has started every game for Alabama and averages 10.1 points per game while Merritt has played in every game and averages 9.1 minutes per game.

After hosting Alabama on Saturday, the Trojans hit the road to face Jacksonville on Tuesday.