Troy men’s basketball wins big in home opener

Published 3:00 am Saturday, November 15, 2014

Despite early offensive struggles and just a two-point lead going into halftime, the Troy men’s basketball team completed a second half surge to secure their first win of the season in their home opener against Brewton-Parker 85-71 Friday night at Trojan Arena.

“We struggled throughout the whole game,” said head coach Phil Cunningham. “I thought we had chance early in the game, we got up early, and we had some confidence. Then they made a little run midway through the first half and made it a game at halftime, it could have been anyone’s lead. It was important to get a win. We would have liked to play better.”

Although they shot just 33 percent from the field in the first half, six Trojans finished the game in double digit scoring.

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With only seven total years of Division 1 experience on the team, Friday night marked the debut of many Trojan players to Troy and collegiate basketball.

In their Trojan debuts, Musa Abdul-Aleem, Wesley Person, Chris Bilbo and John Walton III all scored in double figures. Abdul-Aleem led all scorers with 16 points off the bench. Bilbo accounted for 13 points and was 2-of-5 from three-point range. Walton III scored 10 points points and collected a team-high seven rebounds and Person struggled from the 3-point line, but added 12 points, while totaling a team-high five assists.

Returner starters Kelton Ford and Kevin Thomas both recorded contributed as well. Thomas and Ford had 12 and 11 points, respectively. Thomas shot 6-of-9 from the field, while Ford picked up a team-high four steals.

At 15:14 in second half, Walton III sank a free throw to give the Trojans their final lead of the contest.

Person hit the first 3-pointer of his career immediately after and the Trojans went on a 20-3 in the next four minutes to extend their lead to 62-49. That run sealed the game and the Barons were never able to regain momentum.

Next up, Troy welcomes SEC opponent Ole Miss in a whiteout at Trojan Arena on Mon., November 17 with tipoff set for 7 p.m.