The Troy men’s basketball team split its first two games this season, with a win against Brewton-Parker, 85-71, and a 74-64 loss against Ole Miss.
The Trojans (1-1, 0-0 Sun Belt) opened their season at home on Friday, Nov. 14, against a Brewton-Parker team that was able to hang with Troy through the first half and most of the second. The Barons (5-2) kept pace with the Trojans in a game that was tied seven times and had six lead changes.
The Trojans struggled shooting the ball in the first half, shooting only 33.3 percent in the opening 20 minutes. This allowed for the Barons to keep it close and even lead early in the game.
Troy managed a two-point lead going into halftime, and desperately needed an answer for it own poor shooting in the first half.
That answer came from senior guard Musa Abdul-Aleem, who had battled through an injury in the preseason, and scored a team-high of 16 points to help the Trojans pull away in the second half. The defense also played well in the second half, holding the Barons to just under 6 percent shooting for the night.
“We struggled throughout the whole game,” second-year head coach Phil Cunningham said. “It was important to get this win, but we would’ve liked to have played better.”
Troy took the momentum from its season-opener and looked to build upon it as it hosted Ole Miss on Monday, Nov. 17.
The Trojans played with energy and great effort throughout the game, thanks in part to a loud crowd of 3,278 fans that filled Trojan Arena.
A sea of white-clad fans cheered on the Trojans as part of the white-out that was planned for the contest. However, Troy lost the close match to Ole Miss, 74-64.
The Rebels (1-1, 0-0 SEC) jumped out to a quick start against the Trojans, and maintained a single-digit lead throughout most of the first half. Ole Miss went into halftime leading 34-23 and shooting 41.9 percent from the floor.
Troy didn’t allow the Rebels to extend their lead in the second half and fought back to make it a game after halftime.
Freshman guard Wesley Person exploded in the second half, scoring 20 points and making five out of eight shots from in three-point range.
Ole Miss, however, would emerge victorious, as it used both superior speed and athleticism to hold off the Trojans. Junior guard Stefan Moody was key for the Rebels, scoring 14 points and making six out of 11 shots in the second half alone.
“On behalf of our team and coaching staff, we want to thank everyone that showed up tonight and provided that energy,” Cunningham said. “The only thing I wish we could’ve changed was the outcome. The first thing we told our team when we walked in the locker room is ‘We’re going to be fine. You showed tonight with your effort and your toughness that we’re going to be fine.’ ”
The Trojans face another tough SEC opponent on Friday, Nov. 21, when they go on the road to play Georgia. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.