The Troy men’s basketball team played the University of Texas-Arlington on Monday, Jan. 5, and won 71-66. The team’s record is currently 6-7, and it is 1-3 in Sun Belt play.
The Trojans trailed by two at the end of the first half, but outscored their opponent in the second half 37-30. This renewed energy propelled them to win the game by five points.
“That was a hard-fought win,” said head coach Phil Cunningham. “To our guys’ credit, they never gave up. This will be a reference for the rest of the season, if we are ever back in that situation again. This will be a reference to never give up. We fought there in those last minutes to win the game.”
Freshman guard Wesley Person led the team with 31 points and was four for four at the free-throw line. Junior guard Chris Bilbo followed with the second-most points, scoring 17 baskets during the game.
The game was a career high in scoring for both Person and Bilbo.
Troy made half of the three-point shots it took, while the Mavericks made only 18.2 percent.
The Trojans’ next game was in Atlanta against the 10-6 Georgia State Panthers on Saturday, Jan. 10. They came up short in the final score, losing by five points.
The Trojans started out playing well in the first half. Troy’s largest lead in the first half was by seven points.
Senior guard Musa Abdul-Aleem and Person led the team in first-half points. Abdul-Aleem had 12 first-half points, and made four out of four from the free throw line. Person had 11 total points in the first half, and went three for six from three-point range. The team went in to the half leading 34-32.
Georgia State came out in the second half with a vengeance, tied the game immediately, and proceeded to take the lead. Junior guard R.J. Hunter led the Panthers in the second half with 23 points, and made 14 out of 15 attempts from the free throw line.
Abdul-Aleem and sophomore guard Kelton Ford tried to rally the Trojans to a win. Abdul-Aleem had 21 points, and went four for four in free throws. Ford had eight points in the second half, and went four for four from the free throw line as well. Georgia State outscored the Trojans 45-38 in the second half to win the game 77-72.
The lead changed 10 times during the game, and the
Trojans’ largest lead in the second half was by five points.
The difference in the game was points from inside the paint. Georgia State led in that category with 24 points while the Trojans had only 10. The Panthers also led Troy in points from turnovers with 16.
The Trojans’ next game is on Jan. 15, against the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks at 7 p.m. in Monroe, Louisiana. Troy returns home on Jan. 17, to face off against Georgia Southern at 4:15 p.m.