Loss ends Troy’s season

Published 8:39 pm Friday, March 9, 2018

Troy Athletics

NEW ORLEANS –  The chance at repeating as Sun Belt Champions slipped away on Friday evening as Troy went cold in a 73-51 loss to Georgia State in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Tournament.

“We’ve had a tremendous rivalry with Georgia State,” head coach Phil Cunningham said. “We’ve had tremendous games, including one last week in Atlanta. Today we just never figured out their zone. They were really good offensively.

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“We’ve had at least one half every time we play them when we get loose and score, but we didn’t do that today. I thought from the opening tip we looked like a team that really felt the pressure of not wanting to lose. We got behind early and started pressing then made some uncharacteristic errors. Georgia State was good early in the game and that set the tone.”

A slow start proved to be a predictor of what was to come as the Trojans (16-17) missed the first seven shots from the floor before a layup by Jordon Varnado at the 13:24 mark got Troy on the board.

Georgia State (22-10) answered right back with a 3-pointer 29 seconds later to give the Panthers a double-digit lead that was never relinquished from that point until the end of the game.

B.J. Miller looked to spark the rally with a three with 2:46 left in the half to cut Georgia State’s lead to 34-17, but Troy would only score one more basket before the break in the lowest scoring first half of the season for the Trojans at 19 points.

Troy’s most serious attempt at pulling off the comeback came after Juan Davis, Jr. and Wesley Person hit back-to-back threes to reduce the deficit to 14 with 9:47 to play.

Two possessions later, Darian Adams hit a jumper while being fouled, but the momentum came to a halt as Adams was called for a technical foul that allowed the Panthers to negate the basket with two free throws by Jeff Thomas.

The 51 points scored in the loss was the fewest by the Trojans this season and snapped a streak of five-straight wins in the Sun Belt Tournament and three-straight wins against Georgia State.