by: Devin Smith
photo by: Joshua Thurston
The Troy basketball team got behind early and couldn’t catch up in their final road game of the regular season against Arkansas State.
Troy (11-18, 6-12) played good defense throughout, holding the Red Wolves (18-9, 12-6) to only 58 points. But a bad night from the floor was too much to overcome in the 58-50 loss.
Coach Don Maestri wasn’t disappointed with the teams effort, but with their shooting performance. The offense was stagnant at best, shooting 15 percent from three (3-of-20) and 29 percent overall, as well as going for a 9:39 stretch without scoring a point.
Antonie Myers was the lone offensive force on the night, leading the Trojans with a career-high 21 points.
“We got down a little bit early,” said Maestri. “But after that the game never really changed. It was just back and forth but nobody could do anything.”
Troy cut the Red Wolves lead to six late in the game, and missed a wide-open shot that would have put a lot of pressure on Arkansas State.
This was the story of the night for Troy, staying within striking range for the entire game but never really threatening the Red Wolves.
“We played great defensively,” said Maestri. “They couldn’t do anything. But we missed a ton of shots. And I don’t know what led to that, because I’d say about 70 percent of them were wide-open.”
The Trojans final two home games over next week will be a pair of rivalry games, beginning with the conference leading Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (25-4, 17-1) and ending with the South Alabama Jaguars (16-10, 13-5).
To beat the class of the Sun Belt Middle Tennessee, Coach Maestri thinks Troy may have to tweak their game for a chance to steal a victory.
“I think we’re going to have to slow the game down,” said Maestri. “We have got to control the game and we can’t let them get off to these great starts they get off to.”
The Blue Raiders are 81st in the country averaging 71.6 points per game as well as 43rd in field goal percentage at .463 percent. The less shots that Troy allows Middle Tennessee to take, the better chance of winning they will have.
While the Blue Raiders score points in bunches and play a very physical game, Coach Maestri explained that their basketball I.Q. and experience together was their greatest strength.
South Alabama will be an easier test, but by no means an automatic win for Troy.
The Jaguars are 39th in the country in rebounding at 38.1, and have already beaten Troy 65-62 earlier in the season.
Tip off for Middle Tennessee tonight will be 7:30 p.m.