Men of Troy squeak past Coastal Carolina, fall at App. State

Jahaan Bharucha

Staff Writer

The Troy men’s basketball team found mixed results during a two-game road trip to the Carolinas as it defeated Coastal Carolina 66-65 before losing 65-54 to Appalachian State.

A win in Saturday’s contest with the Mountaineers could have provided Trojan Head Coach Phil Cunningham his first five-game win streak in Sun Belt play. However, following a last minute free throw to give his team a win over Coastal Carolina on Thursday, the Trojans struggled to get much going offensively at Appalachian State two days later.

The Trojans played Coastal Carolina on Thursday in a back-and-forth game that saw the Trojans come back from a 12-point deficit midway through the second half.

Troy won the game from deep, shooting 40 percent from the 3-point line to Coastal Carolina’s 16.7 percent. An overall team effort helped the Trojans successfully erase a 12-point lead within the last 10 minutes of the second half.

Senior guard Kevin Baker’s 14 points were the second-highest of his career and a career-best in games coming off the bench. Junior forward Alex Hicks also put up 16 points in the win to go along with his six rebounds and one steal.

Despite having four players scoring in double figures, the Chanticleers had only seven players score at all, which combined with 64.7 percent shooting from the free throw line, allowed the Trojans to extend their now-former win streak to four games.

However, Troy lost its next game to the Mountaineers at the Holmes Center in Boone, North Carolina.

As a team, the Trojans posted a season-low amount of points in the game and shot a season-low 27.6 percent from the floor.

The Mountaineers started the game on a 13-0 run which left the Trojans trailing throughout the game.

Despite junior forward Jordon Varnado’s 30-point effort with 13 rebounds, the Trojans struggled to cover the lead and played catch up the entire game.

The Trojans shot poorly from the 3-point line with only a 15.4 percentage and were outscored in the paint by 20 points or more for their second consecutive game.

“We fought back and survived, but they hit us with another run to start the second half,” Cunningham said. “At the end of the game, I thought we showed some toughness to get back in it, but we just didn’t convert a couple of times.

“They were the tougher team today.”

The Trojans hope to end the season on a positive note, with two home games left to play. They’ll take on Louisiana on Thursday and ULM on Saturday.

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