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Troy beats Denver 64-46

Troy stepped up on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court in the second half Saturday night, and rode that second half surge to a 64-46 win over Denver.

The Trojans trailed the Pioneers 24-23 at halftime following a first half that saw the Pioneers shoot just 34.8 percent from the field and Troy go a paltry 5-12 from the free throw line.

However, that lead quickly dissipated, as Troy opened the second half on a 12-2 run. The Trojans never trailed after that, and went on to win by 18.

Head coach Don Maestri said patience was the key behind Troy’s 41-point second half.

“The mental adjustment we made at halftime was for us to be more patient on offense,” Maestri said. “We just started working the ball more and passing it more. “

Senior guard Brandon Hazzard, who scored a game-high 23 points, said Troy’s slowed-down offense was necessary against the Pioneers’ Princeton zone offense.

“We just go with whatever’s working, and that was working,” Hazzard said. “With their offense being the way it is, the best thing to do is just be patient.”

Senior Richard Delk, who did not attempt a shot for the first time in his Troy career in the Trojans’ last game Thursday against Louisiana-Monroe, bounced back by scoring 16 points on 7-12 shooting.

“Last game, everybody was just hitting, so I didn’t feel like I had to shoot,” Delk said. “But tonight, I just came out and decided to be more aggressive.”

Troy’s defensive pressure was also key, as Denver came into the game averaging 7 made 3-pointers per game and was shooting 42.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Troy held Denver to just five made 3-pointers on 5-23 shooting.

“We were extremely well-prepared for their zone offense,” Maestri said. “The thing is you can’t lose intensity after two or three passes. They make you play defense for a long time.”

Denver guard Nate Rohnert came into the game as one of the Sun Belt’s leading scorers at 16.2 points per game on 53.3 percent shooting.

Rohnert struggled against Troy, however, scoring just nine points on 3-10 shooting.

“The thing about him is he’s an excellent driver and he’s shot a lot of free throws for a guy who’s six-foot-five,” Maestri said. “We just kept an eye on him to make sure we had a man in front at all times.”

Troy will be back in action Thursday on the road against Florida Atlantic at 6 p.m.