Trojan men win at Hawaii

Wesley Kirchharr

Staff Writer

The Troy men’s basketball team picked up its first road win of the season, topping Hawaii 65-63 in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

The Trojans (3-3, 0-0 Sun Belt) picked up their most notable win of the season so far, closing out a four-game road stretch with a win over a Rainbow Warriors team (4-3, 0-0 Big West) that advanced to the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament last season.

Although Troy never trailed in the game, Hawaii kept pace with the visitors until the final minute. Kevin Barker earned a spot on the foul line with four seconds remaining, where he hit one of two free throws to give the Trojans a two-point victory.

Jordon Varnado and Wesley Person both scored 14 points for the Trojans in front of a Honolulu crowd of 5,838.

The Trojans wasted no time taking the lead after tipoff, racing out to a 16-0 lead just five minutes into the game. After committing 14 first-half turnovers, the Rainbow Warriors turned things around and went on a 13-6 run to close out the half, making the score 33-24.

The second half was a nail-biter for both squads, as Troy held a one-point lead with under one minute remaining. The Trojans went 16-of-20 from the free-throw line, with five of those coming at under two minutes left to play.

That 80 percent from the line is the best Troy has shot all season.

Despite edging the Warriors and scoring every time the home team narrowed the score margin, it was the defense that Troy Head Coach Phil Cunningham praised after the win.

“We got that big lead in the first half, but we knew they were going to get back into the game,” Cunningham said. “They’re a talented team. The crowd got into the game, and (Hawaii) got back into it pretty quick. We just kind of held on there to the end. Our guys played with a lot of toughness and played good defense.”

The Trojans had 10 steals on 18 turnovers and held Hawaii to the fewest points in the first half all season. Sophomore Alex Hick and senior DeVon Walker had a career night, recording three blocks each.

The Trojans will return to action on Dec. 1 when the Bulls of South Florida come to Troy. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., and the matchup will be broadcast on ESPN3.

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