Men’s basketball team tops UT Arlington, falls to Texas State

Wesley Kircharr

Staff Writer

The Troy Trojans men’s basketball team split a pair of home games during the weekend, cruising past UT Arlington 93-71 before falling to conference rival Texas State 71-75.

The Trojans (10-9, 2-3 Sun Belt) advanced their home record so far this season to 5-2 as they prepare for a final half of the season that consists of nearly all conference games.

In Saturday night’s matchup against UT Arlington, Wesley Person had the game of his career to the tune of 39 points. Along with his career-high point total, Person’s 10 shots from behind the arc and his 13 made shots were career bests for the junior guard.

Along with Pearson’s impressive performance, sophomore Jordon Varnado put up 24 points of his own, nearly reaching his career high of 27.

“I thought we were really ready to play,” Head Coach Phil Cunningham said. “We had fresh legs, and Jordon Varnado and Wesley Person really played well tonight. That was a really good win and one we needed to get moving forward.”

The difference maker for Troy in the game was ultimately the three-point field goal percentage. UT Arlington struggled to connect behind the arc with 16 percent of its three-point shots falling, while the Trojans connected on 54 percent of attempts.

Despite 17 turnovers as a team, Troy came out on top to hand the Mavericks their second straight loss following a UT Arlington loss to Texas State a week earlier.

On Monday night, that Texas State team came to town for a conference matchup with the Bobcats ultimately coming out on top. After scoring 93 points just two days earlier, the Trojans had trouble getting the same offensive results against the Sun Belt’s top defense.

“They did to us what we did to UT Arlington on Saturday,” Cunningham said. “They just kept hitting shots and never let us get back in it.”

The Trojans weren’t able to catch back up on the scoreboard or in the stat book, falling behind both in field goal percentage and points in the paint.

Varnado and senior Devon Walker paced the offense with 14 points each on a combined 11-18 shooting from the field.

A Varnado layup at the 17:27 mark of the second half gave the home team a four-point lead, but that lead disappeared for good after the Bobcats put together a 23-7 run that spanned nearly eight minutes.

The Bobcats were led by senior forward Kavin Gilder-Tilbury, whose 17-point performance was just one of five individual double-digit efforts from Texas State.

Troy looks ahead to its next game, a Saturday night matchup against conference foe Arkansas State. The game is set to tip off at 7 p.m. in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.

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