Men’s basketball team loses last regular season home game

Michael Shipma

Staff Writer

The Troy men’s basketball team lost its past two contests, with a road loss to Texas State 67-61 and a loss to Georgia State 75-64 in its final home game.

With the loss to Georgia State, the Trojans (10-18, 5-14 Sun Belt) have been eliminated from having a spot in the Sun Belt championship tournament.

Looking to bounce back from a tough loss at home against UALR, Troy traveled to San Marcos, Texas, to play Texas State (13-14, 7-11 Sun Belt) on Thursday, Feb. 26.

The Trojans came out ready to play, keeping pace with the Bobcats throughout most of the first half.

Troy shot 42.3 percent from the floor, but was kept at arm’s length by the Bobcats’ six-for-eight shooting from three-point range.

After keeping a close lead for most of the half, Texas State went on a 12-2 run late in the half, taking a 35-27 lead into halftime.

The Bobcats came out after halftime ready to run away with the game, but the Trojans’ effort kept them in it.

After leading by 11 points with 15:25 left in the half, it looked as if Texas State would add to that, but 14 points from junior forward John Walton III helped keep the game within reach for Troy.

A three-pointer from senior guard Musa Abdul-Aleem brought the Trojans within three with 35 seconds left, but Texas State made the necessary free throws down the stretch to put the game away.

The Trojans, on the verge of being eliminated from the Sun Belt Tournament after the loss, returned home for senior night.

Troy looked to secure its chance to get into the tournament and honor seniors Abdul-Aleem and forward Kevin Thomas in their final home game at Troy.

Georgia State (20-9, 13-5 Sun Belt) had other plans. The Panthers dominated both ends of the court, and Troy had no answer for the shooting gallery put on by Georgia State.

The Trojans fell behind early in the game and could never recover, shooting just nine out of 24 from the field in the first half.

Senior guard Ryan Harrow led the Panthers’ balanced scoring attack with 17 points and four assists, as the visiting team maintained a lead for the entirety of the game.

“Georgia State is the best pick-and-roll team in the league, and they executed well,” Abdul-Aleem said. “We just didn’t have an answer for it. They’re a smart team.”

Abdul-Aleem led all scorers with 19 points, as the Trojans made a late effort to try and close the gap. It was too little, too late, however, as the Trojans fell and were thus eliminated from the Sun Belt Tournament.

“We just ran into a better team tonight,” said head coach Phil Cunningham. “That hasn’t happened a whole lot this season, we’ve always been close. But the first half in particular, they were better. No one’s done to us what they did to us in that first half, and that’s where the game was won.”

Troy will travel to play its last regular season game against rival South Alabama on Saturday, March 7. Tipoff is set for 4:05 p.m.

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