Men’s basketball hits three-game skid

Michael Shipma

Sports Editor

The Troy men’s basketball team continued to struggle in conference play, falling on the road to ULM and UL-Lafayette, and at home to South Alabama.

After picking up their first Sun Belt win against Texas State, the Trojans (6-14, 1-8 Sun Belt) have now lost three straight and are ranked last in the latest conference rankings.

Troy started its two-game stretch in Louisiana with a conference matchup with ULM on Thursday, Jan. 21, which it lost 74-85.

The Warhawks (8-11, 4-4 Sun Belt) were able to keep ahead of the visitors for the entire game, developing a slim lead in the first half that eventually grew to double digits in the second half.

After going into halftime down 30-40, the Trojans continued to struggle defensively, and were unable to shut down a 58.9 percent shooting performance from ULM. Troy went down by as many as 19 with 6:55 left to play, despite 26 points from junior guard Jeremy Hollimon.

Senior forward Deng Majok led the Warhawks offensively with 33 points and six rebounds.

Troy looked to bounce back two days later at UL-Lafayette (9-8, 5-3 Sun Belt), but had similar results. It lost 65-88 on Saturday, Jan. 23.

The Trojans looked as if they might be able to keep pace with a high-scoring UL-Lafayette offense, but fell behind midway through the first half on a 26-6 run by the home team. Troy found itself on the short end of a 42-24 score with 2:54 left in the half.

Following halftime, the Ragin’ Cajuns continued to dominate on both ends of the floor, shooting just over 57 percent from the field while holding Troy to 42 percent. The home team had three players scoring in double figures, including a double-double performance from senior forward Shawn Long, who scored 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

Freshman forward Jordon Varnado led the Trojans with 15 points and six boards.

The losing streak continued into the following week for the Trojans, as they were unable to bounce back against rival South Alabama on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

The Jaguars (8-12, 3-6 Sun Belt) were unable to slow a hot start from Troy, as the hosting Trojans shot 13 of 26 from the floor in the opening half and claimed a 31-25 lead going into the locker room.

Troy was able to hold onto its slim lead over South Alabama after halftime, but a three-point basket from junior guard Ken Williams put the Jaguars up 40-38 with 12:28 left to play. They would hold that lead for the remainder of the game, handing Troy its third straight loss, 58-66.

Sophomore guard Wesley Person led the Trojans with 15 points.

Even in defeat, Troy led the Jags in both free-throw percentage and field goal percentage, with 71 percent and 43 percent, respectively.

The Trojans will try to regroup as they look to bounce back at home against Appalachian State on Thursday, Jan. 28. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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