Trojans fall to FIU, bottom of Sun Belt standings

Published 11:07 pm Thursday, February 2, 2012

The woes continued for the Troy men’s basketball team as they fell to Florida International, 63-50.

The Trojans (7-14, 2-8) were down by just three with 2:54 left when the shots stopped falling. The Golden Panthers outscored Troy 9-0 in remaining time to take the victory.

“We started the game pretty good,” Maestri said. “We struggled the rest of the game scoring baskets, especially from the free throw line.”

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The Trojans converted 4 of 12 tries from the charity stripe.

The loss was Troy’s fifth in their last six games. With just six contest remaining heading into the conference tournament, the Trojans are looking for a spark to give them some momentum.

“This is the toughest season I’ve ever experienced,” said guard Alan Jones. “As a team we get along and hang out together, we just have to start playing better basketball together.”

Justin Wright, who scored 10 points but shot just 1-for-5 from three-point range, feels that while winning regular season games is important, coming together for the Sun Belt tournament is crucial.

“The three games in Hot Springs (Ark.) is what really matters,” he said. “I think some games we get better and then other times we press. We realize that if we get hot and play well, we’ll be right there with everyone else.”

Troy scored fewer than 60 points for the fourth time this season. The 50 points total was the lowest by the Trojans this season.

“We’re struggling with our confidence,” Maestri said. “I don’t think you get it unless you win. We’re at a point right now where I don’t think we are sure of what we are doing, especially at key times.”

Troy shot just 27.6 percent (8-29) from three-point range which was the second lowest of the season.

Jones led the Trojans in scoring with 13 points. R.J. Scott added 12. Tim Owens scored six in the opening minutes of the contest but was held without a basket for the remainder of the game.

Point guard Will Weather was silent as well, scoring just three points with three assists.

Troy committed 10 turnovers in the first half but just two in the second.

The Trojans look ahead now to Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.

“They are a good team,” Maestri said. “That’s what we need though, to play well against a good team.”