Troy falls to Austin Peay

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2014

After falling behind by as many as 16 points in the second half, the Troy men’s second-half comeback attempt came up short in the waning seconds Monday night, as the Trojans fell 73-70 to Austin Peay at Dave Aaron Arena.

After jumping out to a three-point lead early in the first half Monday night, the Trojans (4-4) went cold from the field, shooting just 36 percent on 9-of-25 shooting in the game’s first 20 minutes.

Austin Peay, who shot just slightly better than Troy in the first half at 37 percent, went into the locker room with a seven-point, 30-23 lead.

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The Governors (3-7) picked up right where they left off after halftime, going on an 8-0 run to start the second half, padding the margin to 16. It was their largest lead of the game.

Sensing a need for a spark on offense, Troy head coach Phil Cunningham made the decision to sub in sophomore guard Kelton Ford.

Behind 12 points and five steals from Ford in the second half, the Trojans stormed back, trimming the Austin Peay lead to 60-59 with 3:35 to go in the game.

But the Governors fought right back, going on an 11-2 run of their own over the next three minutes, jumping back out to a 71-61 lead with less than one minute to go.

With an aggressive full-court press, Troy was able to make one more run at the lead with just 53 seconds to go in the game.

And with three seconds to play, Chris Bilbo hit a 3-pointer, putting the Trojans to within three points of the lead.

But the Trojans were bereft of one final defensive stand, and the Governors were able to cleanly inbound the ball, running out the clock and putting an end to Troy’s second-half rally.

Ford finished the game with 15 points, including going 7-of-11 from the free throw line.

Kevin Thomas recorded his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and collecting 11 rebounds.

Musa Abdul-Aleem, who scored the first eight points of the game for Troy, finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. And upstart freshman Wesley Person scored 10 points on the night, his seventh game of the season scoring in double figures.

Troy’s undoing Monday night proved to be their free throw shooting. Aside from Ford, the Trojans were anemic from the charity stripe, shooting just 53 percent on 15-of-28 attempts from behind the free throw line.

Four Austin Peay players finished the night scoring in double digits.

The Governors were lead by Ed Dyson, who scored 15 points. Chris Horton, the team’s leading rebounder, collected a game-high 13 rebounds.

Troy will finish off its non-conference schedule Dec. 21 at Nicholls State.