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Devils pulloff upset at the line

© St. Petersburg Times
published February 1, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG -- In the end, it came down to better foul-shooting in overtime.

With eight seconds left, Deon Troupe sank two free throws to give St. Petersburg a 65-62 win over host Lakewood.

Troupe, who scored four points in the first half but took control in the closing minutes, led St. Petersburg (14-5) with 17 points. Magjic Dennis' four 3-pointers carried Lakewood (17-5) in the first half.

The Spartans charged out to a 22-12 lead by the end of the first quarter behind Caryon Ross and George McElroy, who scored a combined 16 points. Lakewood slowed down in the second, giving the Green Devils a chance to regroup. But St. Petersburg couldn't put together a strong offensive effort through much of the third quarter, falling behind 43-33. Troupe's 3-pointer at the end of the quarter got St. Petersburg within striking distance at 49-46.

The Green Devils finally pulled even with 5:19 left in regulation on two free throws by Jaimon Sanders.

Coach Chris Blackwell said he didn't give his players a big halftime speech.

"The only thing we said at halftime was to make sure we minimize our turnovers and we box out," he said. "They played their press. We knew they would. They gave their best shot, but we were able to stand with them."

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