Men’s basketball continues to struggle

Michael Shipma
Staff Writer

The Troy men’s basketball team has now lost four of its last five games this season, including losses at UALR on Thursday, Jan. 22, and at home on Saturday, Jan. 24, against Arkansas State.

After Saturday’s game, the Trojans (7-11, 2-7 Sun Belt) closed off a 10-day stretch in which they played five games. The fatigue on the team was visible as it remained competitive against both UALR and Arkansas State, but was unable to come away with a win.

Troy’s matchup against UALR (7-12, 2-7 Sun Belt) showed promise for the visiting Trojans, as they came out firing on all cylinders. Junior guard Chris Bilbo had 10 points in the first half, helping the Trojans maintain a lead throughout the first half.

UALR bounced back in a big way in the second half, though, as it went on a 20-2 run to start the second half. It was a blow that Troy was unable to recover from, and despite fighting back hard from a 12-point deficit in the second half, lost 73-65.

As a team, Troy shot 41 percent from the floor, and made only 10 of 21 free throws in the game, which was a key difference down the stretch.

The Trojans then returned to Trojan Arena to play their fifth game in 10 days against an Arkansas State team (9-10, 4-6 Sun Belt) that was also struggling in conference play.

Both teams shot the ball poorly throughout the game, particularly Troy. The Trojans shot only 31 percent from the floor for the game. Despite this, they were able to go into halftime with a five-point lead after a back-and-forth first half.

Right out of halftime, Troy seemed poised to run away with the game, as it went up by 11 barely two minutes into the second half. But the difference in the game was junior guard Cameron Golden, who scored all 12 of his points in the second half to lead Arkansas State on a 27-5 run that put the win out of Troy’s reach.

The Red Wolves won by a score of 64-55.

Senior forward Kevin Thomas had a double-double on the night with 20 points and 11 rebounds. He also made nine out of 14 field goals.

“I thought the first half we came out and obviously struggled offensively, but we kept fighting and had great energy,” said head coach Phil Cunningham. “The difference in this game down the stretch was that Golden took over. He made big shot after big shot, and from that point on we struggled from the field and we didn’t get them on the offensive glass.”

The Trojans will look to bounce back when they play at home against Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday, Jan. 29. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

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