by Taylor Fraze
Behind late-game heroics from Nelson Phillips, the Troy men’s basketball team captured victories over South Alabama and Louisiana last week. Over the weekend, Zay Williams set a new program record for most games played by any Trojan.Phillips and Williams combined for 73 of Troy’s 141 total points over the last two games, most notably each having a 20-point game against Louisiana on Saturday.
Williams also set the Troy program record for most career games played with 131 in the match against the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Troy claimed a victory over in-state rival South Alabama Thursday, Feb. 9 in a game that featured eight lead changes and three ties. The Trojans found themselves down nine with 11:34 left in the game but would win behind Nelson Phillips’ late-game heroics. Phillips had three steals and 10 points in the final eight minutes of the game, including the go-ahead steal and layup with 45 seconds remaining.
“That was me being locked in and reacting on instincts,” said Phillips in his post-game interview. “I can do certain things that some people can’t do which is a gift from God,”
“We would have not won this game without him,” Head Coach Scott Cross said regarding Phillips. “He was absolutely phenomenal on offense as well as getting steals by creating offense with his defense.”
Nelson finished the game against South with 16 points, three rebounds and four steals.
The Trojans claimed another victory over Louisiana to extend the winning streak to three games behind outstanding games from Williams and Phillips. Willia,s dominated in the paint scoring 26 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to lead the way for the Trojans. Phillips complemented with 23 points, seven rebounds and six steals of his own.
Troy found themselves down five at halftime due to Louisiana’s hot start. Troy came out firing in the second half and did not look back. The Trojans scored 50 points compared to Louisiana’s 30 in the second half. Troy gained the lead permanently at the 9:32 mark of the second half after a layup from Aamer Muhammad. Phillips would then score the next 10 points to ensure the Trojans held onto the lead. Williams set a career milestone by playing in his 131st game in a Trojan uniform, the most in Troy history.
“It feels good to be in the win column, especially protecting home court,” said Williams in his post-game interview. “We knew how important this game was, and we wanted to gain as much momentum as possible heading into the conference tournament.”
The two wins over South and Louisiana bring Troy’s record to 16-11 on the year with an 8-6 record in conference. The Trojans will continue their season with two away games against Arkansas State and Marshall. The game against Arkansas State tips off Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7:30 p.m.