Men’s basketball scraps out a win against Arkansas State

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Jill Odom

Sports Editor

The Troy men’s basketball team finished up its road trip, winning against Arkansas State on Thursday, Feb. 5 and losing to Appalachian State on Saturday, Feb. 7.

On Thursday, the Trojans used their high-scoring first half to squeeze out a tight win against the Red Wolves, 69-64. They scored 42 points in the first half while Arkansas State only made 24 points.

Senior guard Musa Abdul-Aleem and senior forward Kevin Thomas racked up double digits in the first half with 15 and 14 points, respectively.  Thomas also had his 12th career double-double by also having 11 rebounds during the night.

After halftime the Red Wolves came out with a vengeance, scoring 40 points in the second half, while Troy only made 27 baskets.  However, the rally was in vain — Arkansas State only had the lead at one point in the game and that was when the score was 4-3.

Other Trojans junior forward John Walton III and freshman guard Wesley Person contributed to the final score by making 22 points together.  Troy’s 76.2 percent success rate at the free-throw line also helped lift it above Arkansas State, which only made 66.7 percent.

Redshirt guard Sean Gardner led Arkansas State with 20 points and teammates sophomore forward Anthony Livingston and junior guard Cameron Golden both scored 13 points.

The Trojans also made 18 baskets off of second-chance shots, while the Red Wolves only made eight second-chance points.

Troy traveled to Boone, North Carolina, on Saturday to compete against the Appalachian State Mountaineers. The game was a close 65-62, but the Trojans did not half a strong enough second half to overcome the Mountaineers’ lead.

Appalachian State led Troy 33 to 27 in the first half, scoring significantly higher in the paint and behind the arc. Despite rallying in the second half and scoring 35 points, the Trojans came up three points shy.

Thomas, Abdul-Aleem, and Person all scored double digits again and junior guard Chris Bilbo also made 12 points, scoring the most free throws for the team.

High-scoring Mountaineers junior guard Frank Eaves and junior guard Chris Burgess scored 15 points apiece and scored three three-point shots as well.

Troy tied up the lead twice in the first half and in the second half it had narrowed the lead to two points at 13:52. Three-pointers kept pushing Appalachian State’s lead slightly out of Troy’s reach until Abdul-Aleem made a three-pointer of his own and tied the score up 59-59 with four minutes left on the clock.

Unfortunately another shot behind the arc by Burgess, a basket in the paint and a good free throw by Eaves left the game in Appalachian State’s control, despite a valiant three-point shot from Bilbo with one second left on the clock.

Troy returns home on Thursday, Feb. 12, to face off Sun Belt rival South Alabama. The tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

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