Trojans lose double-digit lead in loss to Cajuns

Published 3:00 am Friday, February 26, 2016

The Troy men’s basketball team gave up a 12 point first half lead and never could recover, falling to UL-Lafayette 63-73 on Thursday night in Trojan Arena.

After going up 39-27 in the closing seconds of the opening half, the Trojans (9-19, 4-13) struggled to score in the second, paving the way for the Ragin Cajun’s (15-11, 11-6 Sun Belt) to earn a come-from-behind victroy. After falling on the road in a close game against Appalachian State, the Trojans looked as if they would bounce back from the loss, but the Sun Belt’s third-ranked team wasn’t to be denied.

Sophomore guard Wesley Person led the Trojans offensively, scoring 17 points and grabbing five rebounds. Junior guard Jeremy Hollimon also contributed, recording 11 points on four of seven shooting.

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Forty five percent shooting from the floor, including five buckets from beyond the arc, gave Troy a comfortable, 39-27 lead going into the locker room. Senior forward Shawn Long kept UL-Lafayette in the game with 11 first half points, but tough defense from the Trojans kept the Ragin Cajun’s at bay in the first 20 minutes of play.

The second half was a different story, however, as Troy went stone-cold shooting the ball, allowing the visitors to cut into the lead. The Ragin Cajun’s earned the majority of their points off easy looks, outscoring Troy 40-24 in the paint. Most of those points came from Long, who tallied 29 points off of 10-21 shooting from the floor.

Troy couldn’t seem to regain the offensive rhythm that fueled their double digit lead in the first half, with poor shooting from the field and 46 percent shooting from the free throw line allowing UL-Lafayette to take a 52-53 lead with 8:15 left in the game.

Foul trouble didn’t help either, as sophomore forward Jordon Varnado, senior forward John Walton III and Hollimon all fouled out of the game.

Slowly but surely the game continued to slip away from the home team down the stretch, with UL-Lafayette closing out the game on a 20-9 run. Troy shot a mere 20.6 percent from the field in the second half, while UL-Lafayette shot a scorching 58.3 percent.

Troy will look to bounce back from the loss on Saturday, when they take on conference foe UL-Monroe in Trojan Arena. Tipoff is set for 4:15 p.m.