After claiming a last-second victory over Appalachian State on Jan. 22, the Troy basketball team lost on the road 76-71 at Louisiana-Monroe and 81-69 at Louisiana.
Wesley Person broke Troy’s all-time career scoring record of 1,875 points in the Trojans’ loss to ULM on Thursday, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Trojans from giving up a 15-point lead in the second half.
Even with Person’s achievement, the Trojans had a statistically poor second half by shooting 16.7 percent from 3-point range and 30 percent overall from the floor.
Going into halftime, the Trojans held a 38-24 lead, with Alex Hicks and Jordon Varnado contributing for 23 of the team’s 38 points. Hicks also recorded his fifth double-double in the past seven games; he finished the game with 10 rebounds and 15 points.
But ULM stepped up its game in the second half. The Warhawks almost doubled their shooting accuracy from 27.3 percent in the first half to 50 percent after halftime.
“They made us spread out, play off the dribble and shoot threes, and it didn’t go well for us,” Head Coach Phil Cunningham said. “We went 3-18 on threes in the second half. We had great looks, but they were doubling us and we were kicking it out.
“You have to step up and make shots, and we didn’t.”
Two days later and while still in Louisiana, the Trojans faced the top team in the Sun Belt Conference standings, the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Louisiana maintained its perfect record in conference play, thanks in part to three of its players scoring 18 points or more.
This game saw Troy’s B.J. Miller and Javan Johnson as starters, with Johnson making a first-ever career start. Miller powered the offense to an early lead of 15-7 on his way to a career-high 17 points. However, foul trouble in the early stages proved to be Troy’s downfall, as the Ragin’ Cajuns stepped to the free-throw line 31 times.
Despite all this and shooting 50 percent from the field, the Trojans were down only 40-36 going into halftime.
However, in another poor second half, the Trojans turned the ball over 12 times on their way to a total of 20. Troy also went cold from 3-point range as well, making just three of their 13 attempts.
Despite having four players scoring in double figures, Troy had no answer for Louisiana’s 23 points off turnovers and 21 bench points. The Trojans finished with just five points from its nonstarters.
Troy will have a week to prepare for another big Sun Belt contest, as it returns home for a whiteout game against rival South Alabama. Tipoff is scheduled for Saturday at 4:15 p.m.