Troy men’s basketball fell to Louisiana-Lafayette on the road in a key Sun Belt matchup, 78-63, this past Thursday, Feb. 20, and lost to rival South Alabama as well on Saturday, Feb. 22.
The Ragin’ Cajuns were led by senior guard Bryant Mbamalu with his 21-point performance and four steals. UL-Lafayette was stronger in the paint, scoring 46 points while Troy only scraped up 28 points.
Troy yielded a poor 38.9 shooting percentage, including a miserable 29.2 percent from the three-point line.
The Trojans’ leading scorer, senior guard Antoine Myers, gained 14 points on 5-6 shooting along with 4-6 at the charity stripe. Junior forward Kevin Thomas, senior and freshman guards Hunter Williams and Kelton Ford each contributed 11.
Things didn’t get much better for the men of Troy on Saturday, losing to No. 10 Sun Belt team and in-state rival South Alabama, 86-78. The Trojans, trailing by 26 points late in the first half, couldn’t complete the comeback and now moves to 3-11 in the Sun Belt (9-18 overall).
The Jaguars’ leading scorer, senior forward Augustine Rubit, didn’t disappoint his team tacking on 22 points with 8-15 shooting. The 6-foot-7 leader also had a double-double thanks to a team-high of 10 rebounds while adding two blocks.
Troy, after falling behind 45-24 at the half, fought back to score 54 second-half points, only to see South Alabama ice the game on late free-throw attempts. All five of the starting Trojans, with an exception of Thomas, scored in the double-digits. Williams led the team in points with 24 on 7-18 shooting with 5-10 from three-point land.
Troy’s loss had a lot to do with their first-half performance, shooting a mere 28 percent from the field.
“I thought we were flat,” said head coach Phil Cunningham, “As we left the huddle to go to the floor for the first half I felt like we were flat. I sensed at half time that we could get back in the game because of that little run we made in the last couple minutes of the first half.”
Troy improved their shooting immensely in the second half with a 58.8 field-goal percentage, adding 58.3 percent from beyond the arc. The Trojans also shot an impressive 87.5 percent from the free-throw line. Senior guard Jeff Mullahey led Troy in rebounds with eight, but the Trojans were out-rebounded as a team, 39-31.
Troy will try to regain momentum in the Sun Belt conference, as they return home to Trojan Arena this Thursday, Feb. 27, to take on the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and will be one of the last three home games remaining on Troy’s schedule before heading to New Orleans for the conference tournament.