Troy men’s basketball team fell at home to Arkansas-Little Rock Thursday, Feb. 27, in a low-scoring struggle, 62-55. The game saw the men of Troy have one of their best defensive performances of the season, only to have it haunted with 20 team turnovers.
Troy’s leading scorer, senior forward Tevin Calhoun, fouled out with over seven minutes left in the second half and ended the day with 16 points. Two other Trojans, senior guards Hunter Williams and Jeff Mullahey, also reached double figures in the loss.
The high-point in Troy’s loss against the Trojans of Arkansas-Little Rock came on the defensive side, where they allowed the third-fewest points in a conference game all season. Troy also forced 18 turnovers, which is second most all season.
Defense was a focal point for head coach Phil Cunningham during their weekly preparation and will remain a key factor in the practices heading into the Sun Belt tournament in New Orleans.
“The last two days we focused on the defensive end,” Cunningham said. “We said, ‘Guys, we’ve got to have some defensive urgency as a team.’ Out of these four teams battling to get to New Orleans, the teams that are going to get there are the teams that step up defensively. And we were OK defensively.”
In the Trojans’ game on Saturday, March 1, the men put their defense together with a steady offensive performance, and downed the Warhawks of UL-Monroe, 61-46. The game saw a huge performance from Williams, who led Troy with 24 points, shooting 6-10 from three-point land.
The win Saturday placed Troy in a solid eighth place standing in the Sun Belt, putting them on schedule to be the last conference team selected to play in the Sun Belt tournament.
“Everybody that played contributed,” Cunningham said. “From the starters to the guys off the bench, everybody did their jobs. Everybody contributed in this one tonight.”
Williams was aided on offense by a 15-point performance from Calhoun, the only other Trojan in double-figures. A solid defensive performance, which yielded only 46 points and forced 16 turnovers, also played a vital role in the win.
As a team, Troy struggled from the free-throw line in both games this week, shooting 15-25 in their loss Thursday and 10-22 against the Warhawks on Saturday.
The Trojans will return home to play the last two games of their season, facing UT-Arlington Thursday, March 6, and Texas State on Saturday, March 8, inside Trojan Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The matchup with Texas State on Saturday will serve as senior night for the Trojans. The two remaining games will also determine Troy’s status for the Sun Belt Tournament, which begins Wednesday, March 12.