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Trojans drop home conference game

The Troy Trojans battled adversity all night in their Sun Belt Conference game against the University of Denver, eventually falling to the Pioneers 64-54 at Trojan Arena.

“Obviously this a very disappointing loss,” Troy head coach Michael Murphy said. “We are just going to have regroup and get ready for our next game on Wednesday against Arkansas State. We didn’t do a very good job defending in the second half, but I thought we did a good job of that in the first half to be able to hold them to a low percentage shooting.”

Kylie Morrissy led the Trojans with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor. Alyce Shearing and Larelle Roper each added 10 points and three rebounds in the loss. Roper added four assists, adding to her career total and pushing it to 387 overall.

The Trojans entered the game shorthanded with freshman Jacklyn Selfe and senior Brittnie Davis not dressed for the contest. Selfe has missed the last four games, while Davis missed the game due to illness and sat at the end of the bench. Davis’ replacement in the starting line-up freshman, Kirsten Smith, was injured early in the second half going for a loose ball. She was knocked into the bleachers under the basket and left with a shoulder injury.

“We were able to stay ahead early in the second half,” Murphy said. “There was a stretch in the game where they able to come down and get some baskets, and we were just unable to get anything on our end. That has been our M.O. all year, we have a stretch in the game where we don’t get a basket. No one wants the basketball and that has been an issue with us all year. We have to correct that in a hurry if we want success, especially in the second half. We didn’t make free throws down the stretch, and that almost came back and got us at North Texas.

Although the Trojans had to battle injuries, they were still in the contest with under 10 minutes to play.

Morrissy connected on a short eight-foot jumper to tie the score at 42 with 9:01 to play in the contest, before Denver hit back-to-back lay-ups courtesy of Britteni Rice and Kaetlyn Murdoch to give the Pioneers a 46-42 lead with 7:11 to play in the contest.

Shearing took a feed in the corner, right in front of her bench, and knocked down a 3-pointer to pull the Trojans with 46-45 with 6:55 to play in the game. The two teams then traded 3-pointers on their next trips down the floor and with 5:39 to play, the Trojans seemed to have a chance to get back into the game.

After a 3-pointer by Denver’s Andie Mason gave the Pioneers a 52-48 lead, Morrissy was knocked down hard in the lane by Denver’s Murdoch. After the intial call was made, Morrissy started to walk to the free throw line. However, the call was reversed to a traveling call on Morrissy giving Denver the ball with 5:14 to play in the contest.

The Trojans were able to score on back-to-back possessions after they seemed to be fired up from the situation, tying the score at 52 with 2:57 to play in the contest. However, after the last basket scored by the Trojans, they were outscored 12-2 over the final 2:57 for the final outcome. The Pioneers scored only one field goal in that time period, a lay-up, but connected all 10 of their free throw attempts as the Trojans were whistled for five fouls in the final 75 seconds.

Troy was able to hold a lead in the second half, pushing the lead to 10 at 35-25 when Roper drained a 3-pointer with 17:53 to play in the contest. Denver forced their way back into the contest, following a timeout, outscoring Troy 14-5 over a span of 6:21 in the second half.

Troy shot 37 (20-of-54) percent from the floor and 35.3 (6-of-17) percent from beyond the arc. The Trojans struggled from the free throw line, shooting just 50 (8-of-16) percent from the free throw line, while forcing 19 Denver turnovers.

Although the Trojans lost the game Saturday night, they still find themselves in ninth place overall in the Sun Belt Conference standings, following other results from around the conference Saturday. That leaves the Trojans just one game out of eighth place and a chance to host a first round tournament game.

The Trojans return to action Wednesday night against Arkansas State University. The game is set to tip at 7 p.m. at Trojan Arena.