( Photo / Troy Athletics )
Freshman Duke Miles goes for a layup on Saturday in Trojan Arena against South Alabama. Miles finished the game with 10 pts and 3 steals.
The Troy men’s basketball team dropped a pair of road games to in-state and conference rival South Alabama. The Trojans (10-12, 4-8 Sun Belt) lost the pair of games by a combined margin of 10 points.
In last Thursday night’s action at the Mitchell Center, the Trojans relinquished a nine point lead with under two minutes remaining, allowing the Jags to steal the game 73-70.
“Our guys did a great job of sticking to the game plan,” said Head Coach Scott Cross. “We did a great job of defending each of their guys. The problem was the 50-50 balls tonight. The extra possessions they got all led to easy baskets. That more than anything cost us the game.”
The game changing moment came with just 1:09 remaining. The Jags raced down the floor, finding Michael Flowers fresh off a screen. The senior guard pulled a heavily contested fadeaway three that found the bottom of the net, giving South Alabama the 71-70 advantage.
“Credit South Alabama,” Cross said. “Flowers hit a big-time three to put them up one and we didn’t quite execute down the stretch. We couldn’t have done any more on that shot.
“We were right in his face and he shot a pull-up fadeaway three. There’s not many NBA guys that make that shot. To hold him 7-for-20 was about as well as we could have hoped for because he’s a special player.”
Flowers, a top five scorer in the NCAA, was held to 18 points and one three-pointer.
The Jags went on the put the game on ice hitting one more shot to secure the 73-70 victory.
In Saturday’s rematch, the Trojans were once again outmatched in a much lower scoring contest.
A first half shooting slump left the Trojans without much to contest the Jags offense as South Alabama raced to a 31-19 lead at the halftime break.
“I’m very disappointed in the way we played,” Cross said. “We weren’t quite locked-in mentally. We played hard but we made a lot of mental mistakes. I thought they were a little bit tougher than us and those plays dictated the outcome of the game.
“I was proud of our guys for fighting and cutting into their lead, but we just couldn’t quite get over the hump and it’s disappointing for South to come in here and escape with a win.”
Zay Williams led the Trojans in rebounds and scoring, posting 14 points and grabbing 18 boards.
Trojan senior Nick Stmpley, a regular double-digit scorer, was held under 10 points for the first time in seven games.
Troy continued to contain Flowers and the Jags star posted eight points on 2-13 shooting.
Up next, the Trojans look ahead to the final stretch of the regular season as they travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia State. Friday’s game is set for 5 p.m. while Saturday’s tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.