The Troy men’s basketball team began the Phil Cunningham era with a lopsided 105-68 exhibition win over Victory University Tuesday night, Oct. 29, at home.
Senior guard and preseason All-Sun Belt player Hunter Williams led the Trojans with 23 points while senior forward Tevin Calhoun finished with a double-double (16 points and 11 rebounds) in the win.
Calhoun’s 11 rebounds, seven of which were offensive boards, helped kick-start a Troy offense that came out flat in the first 10 minutes.
“Tevin changed the game,” Trojan head coach Phil Cunningham said. “It was a tight game, in fact, they led a little bit and we took a little lead, but Tevin changed the game with about two or three offensive rebounds.”
Williams found this shot at about the same time and the point guard drained four 3-pointers in the game along with recording a team-high six assists.
“Got off to a little rocky start and then a couple of shots fell, but really, I’m not focused on scoring necessarily,” Williams said. “I’m a point guard. I’m looking to get teammates involved and everything.”
For Cunningham, Calhoun and Williams’ success on the court is simply the byproduct of what the two seniors do during the week.
“They are both so consistent,” Cunningham said. “Every day they are the guys that work hard. They never take a drill off. They never take a day off. They are in the gym extra. They go all out all the time and their play is an example of when you work hard like that, good things are gong to happen and these guys have been doing it.”
But it wasn’t just Williams and Calhoun who played well in the 105-68 pounding of Victory.
Senior guard Antoine “Smooth” Myers finished with 19 points and was 8 for 11 shooting field goals while the 6-foot-8 senior Wes Hinton had double digit rebounds with 10.
While Calhoun was racking up the offensive rebounds, Hinton grabbed nine defensive rebounds for the Trojans.
Troy dominated Victory in the paint, scoring 64 points inside to the Eagles’ 28.
Another thing that Cunningham was pleased with was that his team stayed out of foul trouble in the game.
Both teams made mistakes early on with errant passes and lots of turnovers so Victory was right there with Troy 23-23 at 10:42 in the first half, but the Trojans were about to take control for good.
Williams made a 3-pointer to make it a 10-point lead with 5:48 remaining in the first, and Troy didn’t look back.
“Once we settled down and figured out what they were doing offensively and got in a little better groove defensively,” Cunningham said. “I thought we were better offensively at that point.”
It got ugly in the second half for Victory as Troy dominated the paint and pulled away to a commanding 20-point lead at times.
With the exhibition over, the Trojans are now focused on the tall task of playing Ole Miss in Oxford on Friday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m. to begin the regular season.
Before that, fans will have the opportunity to meet the Troy players and coaches on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 1 p.m. at basketball fan day in Trojan Arena.
Players will be signing schedule posters while popcorn and soft drinks will be free to all who attend.