JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Troy looked poised to be in for a tight battle up just five with 10:38 to play, but Wesley Person soon took away all doubt by exploding for 22second-half points to lead Troy to a 73-65 win over ETSU.
The Trojans led for 36:50 on the night, but the home crowd were ready to fuel a rally after a 3-pointer from Desonta Bradford cut the lead to five with 10:38 remaining. Instead of panic, the combination of Person and Jordon Varnado proved to be too dominant for the Buccaneers.
Varando came out of the gate strong in the first half as he powered his way to 10 points before halftime, the third time this season the forward has accomplished that feat.
The junior’s powerful inside presence—as well as his 3-4 shooting from three—gave Troy a 32-25 advantage at the break. The momentum continued at the start of the second frame as Alex Hicks scored while being fouled and added on the free throw 15 seconds in.
ETSU slowly drained Troy’s lead down to four before a Varnado 3-pointer on the ensuing possession silenced the crowd and bumped the lead back up to seven. It was when the lead dropped down to five that Person took the game over.
With 7:45 remaining, the senior drained a 3-pointer from the corner after B.J. Miller drove through the lane. Just 26 seconds later, Person shook off a man to hit another three from the top of the key on Troy’s next possession.
He was just getting started as he hit three more from long range in the span of 2:33 to shoot Troy’s lead up to 17 in the blink of an eye. All 22 of Person’s points came in the second half as he finished the contest with a game-high 22 points.
“These guys went 13-2 last year and won 26 games,” head coach Phil Cunningham said. “They’ve got a lot of guys back from that team. This is a really good program. This place is built to win and you can see why.
They had a great crowd in here tonight that got loud when they went on that late run. This is a tremendous win especially when you mix in the travel schedule we’ve been on. We laid a brutal travel schedule on those guys so to win tonight was huge.”
Troy will return home for a three-game stretch that begins with Delaware State on Monday in Trojan Arena.
• The degree of difficulty for a win in Freedom Hall was high as ETSU went 13-2 at home last season.
• Troy outshot ETSU in all three categories while David Burrell of the Buccaneers the only player in double-digits at 12.
• ETSU went without a point from the 15:33 mark to the 6:59 mark of the first half, which marked the third time this season Troy has held an opponent scoreless for five or more minutes.
For more information on Troy men’s basketball visit TroyTrojans.com or follow the team on social media at @TroyMensHoops.