Thursday, November 26, 2020

Game #2 - Troy Trojans

The Cats return to Kimmel Arena for the second game in as many days, this time to open the Mako Medical Asheville Classic hosted by UNC Asheville. The Cats face the Troy Trojans in the opening game on Friday at 1 pm then face the host team on Saturday.   

When: Friday, November 27, 2020, at 1:00 pm   
Where: Kimmel Arena, Asheville, NC
Radio:  Trojan Radio - All Access

TV/video:   ESPN+
-announcers: Matt Stradley (Play by Play), John Williams (Color Analyst)
Live StatsStats
Conference:  Sun Belt Conference 
Official Atheltic Site: Troy Trojans
Nickname:  Trojans
Location:   Troy, AL
Mascot:  T-Roy
Colors:   Cardinal, Siver, Black
Students: 18,000
Troy Fan Message BoardTroy Fans

The Series: The Cats and Trojans are tied at 1-1 in the series, last played in 1971, the Cats won that game, 91-80.  The two teams first met in Troy in 1961

Game Notes:   Western Carolina    -     Troy     
Last season, the Trojans were 9-22 and 5-15 in the Sun Belt, and won only 3 games on the road. Troy comes to Asheville riding a 7 game losing streak from last season. The Trojans opening game against Middle Georgia State (Nov. 25) was canceled, so this will be their opening game.  

Entering his second season, head coach Scott Cross's Trojans are projected to finish in the bottom third of the Sun Belt, with most projections coming in at 11th of the 12 teams.  Troy returns five players from the 2019-20 campaign. After missing the final 16 games of the 2019-20 campaign, junior Zay Williams looks to build off an extremely successful season that saw the junior take the proverbial next step, averaging 11.1 points and 5.6 rebounds. Sophomore’s Jakevan Leftridge (6.2 points, 4.2 rebounds) and Desmond Williams (9.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists) and senior’s Nick Stampley (5.6 points, 4.8 rebounds) and Khalyl Waters (3.7 Points, 2.2 rebounds).

Key Returners: Zay Williams, Desmond Williams, Nick Stampley, Khalyl Waters, Jakevan Leftridge

Key Newcomers: Kieffer Punter (JUCO), Rory Pantophlet (JUCO), Lydell Geffrard (JUCO), Antwan Burnett, Duke Miles, Kam Woods, Miles Mendes, Christian Turner.  Freshman Antwan Burnett is the first four-star signee in school history. Burnett scored 25 points in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game earning MVP honors

Despite having just one senior on last year’s squad, the Trojans lost seven rotational players from 2019-20 as the transfer portal sucked out much of the roster. However, Troy’s recruiting class is receiving some hype for Sun Belt standards, and the Trojans return a solid core with which to build off last season’s 9-22 (5-13) record.

Troy had probably the worst offense in the Sun Belt last season, sporting the lowest FG% in the conference despite turning in the 6th-best 3point percent. The Trojans relied on the three-ball and transition to score points. Scott Cross has historically played very fast and there’s reason to believe the Trojan tempo can ramp up in 2020-21 with a roster that appears to be more talented on paper. The added size will also help Troy’s rim woes, as the Trojans were one of the smallest teams in the country last season even before Zay Williams went down with an injury.

Troy should get better this season, but it’s unclear if it will be enough to bring the Trojans out of the basement of the Sun Belt.


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