Troy men topped by Red Wolves

Published 3:08 am Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Troy men couldn’t sustain early second-half momentum, succumbing to a late Arkansas State 25-5 run and falling to the Red Wolves 64-55 Saturday night at Trojan Arena.

Kevin Thomas led Troy with 20 points and 11 rebounds, his ninth double-double of the season. Wesley Person and Chris Bilbo chipped in with 14 points and 11 points, respectively.

Coming out of halftime, Troy (7-11, 2-7) led 30-25. And after a 3-pointer by Person and layup by Thomas, the Trojans extended their lead to 10, 35-25, over Arkansas State.

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But the Red Wolves (9-10, 4-6) responded by orchestrating a 25-5 run, taking a 54-43 lead over Troy with 5:43 to go.

“We somehow got a five-point lead going into halftime, which is very encouraging after the way we shot the ball,” head coach Phil Cunningham said. “They (Arkansas State) quickly got back in the game…(Cameron) Golden took over. Golden just made big shot after big shot.”

In the first half, both teams had trouble making anything from the field. The Trojans were just 29 percent from the field, while Arkansas State shot slightly worse at 27 percent.

The difference for Troy in the first half was Thomas. With 5:33 to go in the first half, the senior was shooting 4-of-7 from the field while the rest of the team was just 2-of-20.

“I just think it was one of those nights,” Thomas said. “Every shooter has one of those nights where shots are just not falling.”

After going into halftime with the lead, the Trojans, who were playing in their fifth game in 10 days, were visibly fatigued in the second half and couldn’t defend against a surging Arkansas State offense.

“We don’t ever want to talk about it (fatigue) to the team from an excuse standpoint…but I know how I felt tonight, and I didn’t play a minute” Cunningham said. “We addressed the fatigue issue…we acknowledged that you (the team) just finished five games in 10 days.”

Anthony Livingston led Arkansas State with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Golden finished with 12 points, all of which came in the second half.

Troy finished the night shooting just 31 percent from the field, while the Red Wolves shot 40 percent from the floor.

With the loss, Troy falls into sole possession of last place in the Sun Belt.