The Troy basketball was able to pounce on Florida International on Thursday, Feb. 14 with a 69-61 home victory.
Trojan guard Hunter Williams led the team with 20 points due in part to his deadly 3-point stroke.
Williams was 4 for 6 beyond the arch and 7 for 10 shooting the deuces.
“For me when I hit the first one, the basket starts to look a little bigger,” Williams said. “But I was trying to do whatever I could, we knew it was a big game, we knew we had to come out hard.”
The Trojans controlled the first half with 20 rebounds and a 40 percent field goal percentage.
“We know that going into every game we are going to be outmatched in size,” Troy senior guard Emil Jones said. “But we know we have got to work hard on the boards because if we win the rebound battle we can compete with anybody and beat anybody.”
The second half began with FIU trailing by six points 29-23 but definitely not out of the game.
The Golden Panthers came back with 11:50 left in the second half to make it 42-42 but in the end clutch shooting by Jones and the Trojans would lead to victory.
“Emil in the second half, when there is pressure shots to be made, it’s amazing,” Coach Don Maestri said. “He really is a pressure shot player.”
Jones finished the night with 17 points and a team-high nine boards.
The win was number 499 for Trojan coach Don Maestri who will have the opportunity to make the milestone of 500 on Saturday, Feb. 16 in Trojan Arena.
“If we win that game I’m jumping on his back,” Jethroe said. “That’s going to be a big game for him and his whole coaching staff.”
The Trojans take on North Texas and the NBA-bound Tony Mitchell on Saturday night at 7:30 pm.
“It will take everybody Saturday,” Maestri said.