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Troy wins battle of Trojans at UALR

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Troy Trojans ran their winning streak to four games defeating Arkansas-Little Rock 63-58 on the road at the Stephens Center on Saturday night in Sun Belt Conference play.

The win gave Troy (11-10, 6-3 SBC) their best ever record in Sun Belt Conference play at 6-3. It also gives the Trojans three straight conference wins on the road.

“I wasn’t nervous we would get upset when they started coming back. It was more that [the coaching staff] was disappointed about some of the mistakes we made in the last three minutes. Those were things that you just don’t do to win close ball games, lucky for us we weren’t behind. We had some real pressure free throws towards the end,” head coach Don Maestri said.

“We truly haven’t been in that situation before against one of the best teams in that league it was great to see us do what we had to do to get it done. We said at halftime that if you start the second half and gain back momentum, then you are going to real put pressure on [UALR] to come back.”

Troy held UALR (14-6, 7-2 SBC) to a .344 field goal percentage, including hitting just 6-of-23 three-point attempts. The Trojans continued their excellent rebounding, tying UALR at 40 rebounds.

“We are not celebrating like we beat the number one team in the league right now, even though we did. We are happy because we earned this win. We were better than them tonight, but we still might have to play them again this year,” Maestri said.

Michael Vogler and Richard Delk scored 18 points a piece as the Trojans picked up their sixth win in seven games. Brandon Hazzard scored 12 points and Tom Jervis grabbed 11 rebounds to go with nine points and five blocks.

The Trojans hit back-to-back-to-back three’s on the first three possessions of the game. Hazzard hit two free throws to cap a 12-0 Troy run to start the game.

With 2:02 remaining, Jervis went to the line and split a pair of free throws to give the Trojans an eight point lead. Then Delk made it 58-49 by splitting a pair from the line and a Vogler steal gave the Trojans that ball with 1:26 to go.

Hazzard turned it over on the resulting inbounds pass and Curtis Jackson drilled a three-pointer to pare Troy’s lead down to just six points with 1:21 to go. UALR was able to cut it down the lead to six again on two Steven Moore free throws, but Jervis connected on two to put it back to eight.

UALR was able to get a quick two from Moore with 21 seconds left, and then fouled Hazzard who had just hit two free throws the previous trip. He missed both, giving UALR the ball down by five but they were unable to find the net giving the Trojans the win.

Troy is in action next on Thursday when they travel to North Texas to face the Mean Green at the Super Pit. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.