Hot start can’t carry Trojans to victory (with video)

Published 10:20 pm Thursday, January 19, 2012

A hot start couldn’t carry Troy as the Trojans fell to Florida Atlantic 88-67 Thursday night at Sartain Hall.

The loss was the fourth consecutive for the Trojans at home. It is the first time Troy has dropped four straight in Sartain since 1986-87.

“Things are just not going our way right now,” head coach Don Maestri said. “We’ll have to come back out and go to work tomorrow. I’ve always been a big believer that you find out more about a guy when things aren’t going their way than when things are.”

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Troy jumped out to 13-0 advantage early. Justin Wright, starting for the first time in three game, made good on his first two attempts from three point range. After and Emil Jones long ball, Steven Cunningham, also in the starting lineup for the first time since Nov. 19, added consecutive baskets to force the Owls to take a timeout.

The adjustment apparently worked as Florida Atlantic came out of the break to take control of the game. Tim Owens put-back with 9:47 left in the half to give Troy a 27-21 lead would be the last Trojan basket for over eight minutes. Florida Atlantic would outscore Troy 30-5 in the final 12:24 of the half.

“It’s safe to say we went pretty cold,” Wright said. “But once you go cold, we’ve got to find a way to get better shots.”

Junior Emil Jones would lead the Trojans in both scoring and rebounding with 19 points and 11 boards.

The Trojans would commit an uncharacteristically high amount of turnovers, handing the ball over 17 times in the contest.

“Once a team like (Florida Atlantic) gets confidence everything starts falling in,” Jones said. “We’ve got to find a way to weather the storm, protect the basketball and make shots.”

The Trojans shot just 38 percent as a team compared to Florida Atlantic’s 55 percent. Troy fared better from three-point range than in recent contests shooting 10-28, though four of those came in the opening five minutes.

Troy falls to 1-5 in conference play with a chance to get back on track against a Louisiana-Monroe squad also struggling for victories.

The Warhawks will come to Sartain on Saturday 2-17 on the season.

“We’ve got to stop this losing streak,” Jones said. “There’s not a better time to stop it than Saturday.”

Troy and ULM tip at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.