15-141! When Scoring Stopped, The Telephones Started Ringing
Rocky Mountain News
The shots kept coming. And coming. And coming.
The points kept coming. And coming. And coming.
Now it's the phone. It keeps ringing. And ringing. And ringing.
The folks at Troy State and DeVry Institute had no idea what they were getting themselves into last Sunday.
Oh, they knew it wouldn't be your garden-variety small-college game. Last year, Troy's frenetic offense put up 187 against DeVry. Last week, Troy Coach Don Maestri made some pregame noise about becoming the first college team to hit the 200-point mark.
Troy's 258-141 victory over DeVry grabbed the sports world by the ear and yanked its attention to little Troy, Ala. Maestri's phone has been ringing ever since. So has the phone of the DeVry coach, George Trawick.
How in the wide world of hoops does 258 happen?
Trawick - whose Atlanta-area NAIA Division II team is comprised of guys studying things like electronic engineering - could see something like this coming.
"Going off our game with them last year, I thought maybe 200 was realistic," Trawick said, fielding his estimated 45th call from a reporter in two days. "But I never, ever thought 258 was possible."
Here's how it was possible:
First, Maestri uses the 78-rpm, run-and-stun offense invented by Paul Westhead, the Denver Nugget coach, when Westhead was at Loyola Marymount. In that system, no shot is a bad shot.
Second, Troy (13-3) is a pretty good team for its level, NCAA Division II. Troy has lost to all three of its Division I opponents - including Wyoming last month - but routinely smashes teams its own size.
Third, DeVry (3-16) isn't so hot. Trawick uses a running system, too, but lacks the athletes to make it work.
It all added up. And added up.
After a slow start - Troy was on a mere 160-point pace for the game after eight minutes - the Trojans caught fire. Everything dropped. The basket looked like the Grand Canyon. It was 123-53 at the half.
The crowd of 2,000 got into it. Troy began passing up uncontested layups for three-pointers. Points begat points. The numbers fed off themselves.
Troy wound up taking 190 shots and hitting 102. Troy was an other-worldly 51 of 109 from three-point land.
"The amazing thing is, the ninth and 10th players on our team were making three-pointers," Maestri said.
The defense in this one? About as much as Iraq put up. DeVry virtually was encouraged to score once it broke Troy's press. The better to get the ball back.
Said Trawick: "We don't have the ball handlers to handle their press, so we threw a lot of long passes over the top. We figured that was our only chance."
Problem was, those passes often wound up in some fan's lap. DeVry had 44 turnovers. When DeVry managed to hold onto the ball, it would make an easy layup or put up some wild shot. When DeVry missed, Troy would fire the ball upcourt and jack it up again.
Westhead, who abandoned his space-hoops system after one abysmal season of using it in the NBA, was suitably impressed. "I'm glad to see the running game is alive and well," he said.
And confounding. Some numbers to chew on:
Troy scored a point every six seconds.
A shot was taken every eight seconds.
Troy had 94 rebounds.
There were seven fouls. Total. DeVry didn't attempt a free throw.
Troy had 28 dunks. "At least 19 of 'em were over me," said DeVry's Clayton Jones.
"They were throwing everything in," Trawick said. "It was unbelievable."
So was the atmosphere in Troy's cramped gym.
"Totally chaotic," Trawick said. "Fans everywhere, everybody roaring. It's impossible to describe it unless you were there."
Despite being on the bad end of this thing, Trawick has lapped up the attention. Even Dick Vitale noticed.
"Hey," Dickie V shouted on ESPN Monday night, "is it true John Thompson (of Georgetown) has phoned down to DeVry Institute to schedule them next year?"
Not yet. But Trawick would welcome the chance to play Georgetown, a shameless scheduler of early-season patsies. DeVry has even borrowed its nickname from Georgetown.
"Hoyas against Hoyas,"
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