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Troy falls after missing shot at buzzer

Troy came up just short in its bid for an upset of South Alabama Saturday, falling 59-57 after Donette McNair missed a shot at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime.

“We wanted to go the basket, and we got a pretty good look that just didn’t go in,” said Troy head coach Michael Murphy.

Troy led 57-56 with roughly 42 seconds left after a lay-up by Mookie Smith, but could not hold the lead.

The Jaguars’ Siedah Banks hit a jumper with 27 seconds left to put USA up for good at 58-57.

Troy had a chance to take the lead on its next possession, but committed a costly turnover that gave USA the ball with the lead, forcing the Trojans to foul and send Shakira Nettles to the foul line.

“The play before (the last shot) where we turned it over was the critical play,” Murphy said. “We had what we wanted there, but we just didn’t execute.”

The lack of execution on Troy’s penultimate possession was a pattern throughout the game.

“When we executed, we got exactly what we wanted, and we didn’t, we got what we didn’t want, which was a two-point loss,” Murphy said.

Nettles missed the back end of the one-and-one, setting the stage for McNair’s game-ending miss.

The two-point loss was just the latest close loss of the season for Troy, a campaign that has seen the Trojans fall by five points or fewer for the fifth time this season, and the fourth time in Sun Belt play.

“It is tough to lose at any rate, whether it’s close or by 20,” Murphy said. “When you break down the film, there are going to be anywhere from a dozen to two dozen plays that if they had gone your way, you would have won the game.”

McNair recorded a double-double, as she led Troy in both scoring and rebounding with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Alyce Shearing added 16 points.

Troy must now try to bounce back in its next game, but will face a tough test in the form of league-leading Middle Tennessee.

“It’s very, very frustrating because this is our fourth two-point loss, but no one is going to feel sorry for us,” Murphy said. “Middle Tennessee certainly isn’t, so we can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”

Troy will take on Middle Tennessee on the road Wednesday at 7 p.m.