Person makes history, Troy picks up win on Senior Night

Michael Shipma

Sports Editor

A slow first half kept the Troy men’s basketball team out of the win column with an 81-76 loss on Thursday at home against Louisiana, but it bounced back two days later to defeat Louisiana-Monroe 73-67 on a historic night for Wesley Person.

The senior guard from Brantley poured in 17 points on Senior Night against the Warhawks on his way to 2,003 career points, making him the first Trojan to surpass 2,000 career points. Person is also just the seventh player in Sun Belt Conference history to reach that total.

“Wesley (Person) getting 2,000 points is an incredible accomplishment,” said Head Coach Phil Cunningham after the game. “It speaks to the consistency he’s had since the day he walked in here.

“He had a professional mindset, knew how to practice and knew how to prepare. You can’t imagine how many boxes he checks off. He’s had an amazing career.”

Person made Troy basketball history off a pass from teammate Alex Hicks, who turned an offensive rebound into an assist to Person for a 3-pointer. Person needs to make just seven more shots from beyond the arc to match his three-point total from his sophomore season.

Hicks finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds against ULM.

Two days prior to that, however, the Trojans struggled early and couldn’t dig themselves out of a hole despite a second-half surge.

Troy continued its cold shooting from its double-digit loss to Appalachian State the previous weekend and walked into the locker room at halftime with a 37.5 field goal percentage.

The Ragin’ Cajuns’ Jakeenen Gant exploded for 15 points in the half, propelling Louisiana to a 39-34 lead after the first 20 minutes. Person had 11 at that point, but not much help on the scoreboard.

The second half saw Troy shoot the ball better at 46.9 percent, but poor free-throw shooting kept it from maintaining a lead. As a team, the Trojans shot a season-worst 52.9 percent from the foul line.

An 8-2 run gave Troy a one-point lead to start the second half, but the Cajuns responded with a 17-6 over the next 5:17 to regain the lead for good.

Person was the highest-scoring Trojan in the game, finishing with 21 points and five rebounds.

Against ULM, Troy battled to overcome 10 first-half turnovers and 5-14 shooting from distance. However, the home team put together a 12-2 run to end the first half of the final home game of the season.

The Trojans dominated the paint and the boards, out-rebounding ULM 30-20 and recording 13 second-chance points to the Warhawks’ two.

A big part of that was junior forward Jordon Varnado, whose 23 points and 10 rebounds helped propel Troy to an 11-point second-half lead.

In the meantime, ULM struggled mightily from the three-point line, making just eight of its 32 attempts.

The usual suspects led Troy in scoring as Person and Hicks both put up 17 points to back up Varnado’s seventh double-double of the season.

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