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Varnado’s Layup In Final Seconds Gives Troy An 81-79 Win

In front of one of the biggest crowds in Trojan Arena history, Troy went coast-to-coast on the final possession and earned an 81-79 victory after Jordon Varnado put a layup in with just 2.7 seconds remaining on Monday night in Trojan Arena.

His shot ended what looked to be certain overtime after Appalachian State (8-13, 3-5) went on a hot streak in the final minute to tie things up. Troy (9-11, 3-4) led by five with 48 seconds remaining before things got interesting.

Griffin Kinney got a layup with 36 seconds remaining, which Appalachian State then capitalized on by stealing the inbounds pass to get another layup to cut it to 78-77 with 29 seconds left.

Alex Hicks only hit one free throw on the ensuing possession and the Mountaineers responded by tying it up on a basket by Justin Forrest with eight seconds on the clock.

Hicks had key awareness as he found Wesley Person streaking down the sideline before Appalachian State could regroup. Person’s shot was off the mark then B.J. Miller’s attempt was no good before Varnado rewarded the effort with the winner. The Mountaineers heave from half court was off the mark at the buzzer.

Troy benefitted from a balanced scoring attack that saw four players in double-digits with Person leading the way with 16. The Trojans had just one 3-pointer in the first half but adjusted to shoot 6-8 from deep in the final frame.

“It was a much needed win for us as much as anything because Saturday was such a tough loss,” head coach Phil Cunningham said. “From a mental standpoint, we had to find a way to get a win tonight just to try to move past Saturday.

Saturday’s loss was one that could have hung with us for a long time. We needed to find a way to get past it and nothing like a win to do that.”

It’s back out on the road for Troy with games at ULM on Thursday and UL Lafayette on Saturday.