The FTCC Trojans welcomed the #7 ranked Richard Bland Statesmen to Fayetteville, and then proceeded to dominate them through the game on both ends for a resounding 98-86 win. The Trojans hit outside shots, pushed hard to the basket, rebounded strong, and played great team defense. Several familiar players had great nights, but the players played as a unit all night, whomever was on the court.
Leading scorers for the season, Jabari Bowman and Zach Boggs, were not available for the game, but several Trojans stepped up to fill the scoring void. The game opened with strong defense by both teams. The Trojans missed some early baskets and fell behind 3-12, but were able to tie the game at 12-12 just a few minutes later to set the tone for the first half. The lead was never more than a few points by either team for the balance of the half. Just before the half Tristen Rodriguez hit a 35 ft shot at the buzzer, just beating the shot clock, and a few seconds later hit another from the corner to tie the Trojans a 44-40 halftime lead. Kehlo Chavis was able to run point for several minutes to give Adams and Haymer a rest, and brought the crows to their feet with a crossover that knocked the defender to the court.
The Trojans were strong on the boards at both ends. Dominique Rogers and DJ McDonald split duty at center and were able to grab rebounds and start breaks. Rogers was able to break his scoring slump with 7 pts. in the half and McDonald had 8 pts. The highlights, however, came form the outside shooting of Rodriguez, Nick Kuhns, and Jonathan Adams. The Statesmen’s Robert Smith, 12 pts., led the team with Ryan Jones and Tyler Lloyd each having 8 pts. The Statesmen could never get a rhythm and did not look comfortable with the play through the half. Coach Hurd had seen enough film and knew a 3-2 zone defense gave their shooters fits so he worked the team hard to commit to the perimeter defense.
The second half opened much like the first with both teams pressuring the ball. The scoring seemed to go back and forth with the Statesmen gaining a 5 pt. lead only to have the Trojans tie the game at 63-63. For a nearly 9 minute stretch, Adams and Rodriguez handled all of the FTCC scoring. Adams was able to cut to the basket and score while drawing fouls, going 7-10 in the half. He looked exhausted, but kept driving and scoring. Rodriguez was able to shake free enough to get off several long range shots. After driving the baseline for a layup, he was able to pour in five more 3 pt. shots to tie his time record of seven on the night. In addition, he was 6-7 at the line. The Trojans opened a 15 pt. lead with 2 minutes to play.
It seemed each time the Statesmen were getting a run together, Rodriguez hit a bomb under pressure. Richard Bland was able to get as close as 8 pts. in the closing minutes, but were unable to get rebounds after forced shots and played with desperation as the game closed. This was not the game that the #7 team expected at all. The Trojans were ready to play, and seemed to want the game more. This is the biggest win in the short history of the renewed program.
Last season, the Statesmen handed the Trojans a 40 pt. loss at Petersburg, VA. This will be a long trip back for them. With this win, the Trojans have announced their intention to compete this year with the best teams in the conference. This team has seemed absent for the last few games, but the intensity and athleticism displayed tonight will help them go far in the remainder of the season. All who attended enjoyed the show!
FTCC 44 54 98
RBC 40 46 86
FTCC Haymer, 4, Adams, 21, Kuhns, 7, Rodriguez, 32, McDonald, 15, Rogers, 7, Stover, 2, Miller, 8, Edwards, 2
3 Pt. 8, Rodriguez, 7, Kuhns, 1
Fouls Haymer, 1, Adams, 2, Kuhns, 2, McDonald, 1, Rogers, 2, Stover, 3, Miller, 5, Edwards, 2
RBC Bing, 3, Jones, 13, Hicks, 9, Patterson, 13, Smith, 22, Taylor, 6, Joyner, 5, Lloyd, 8, Clevert, 1, Mendenhall, 6
3 Pt. 6, Jones, 1, Patterson, 1, Smith, 2, Lloyd, 2, Clevert, 1
Fouls Bing, 4, Jones, 2, Hicks, 2, Patterson, 4, Smith, 3, Taylor, 4, Joyner, 2, Lloyd, 3, Trotman, 1, Mendenhall, 3