Troy ready for the battle of the Trojans

Published 6:12 pm Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Troy men’s basketball will hit the road for the first time in Sun Belt Conference action as it will face Little Rock on Thursday inside of Jack Stephens Center. Tip is set for 6:30 p.m. with the game broadcast live on ESPN+.

The Trojans (8-6, 1-1 SBC) tied a program record in 13 blocks in their 89-85 win over Appalachian State on Saturday in Trojan Arena. Senior Jordon Varnado returned to action and scored a game-high 27 points including a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe. Varnado added eight rebounds, a season-high six assists, a pair of blocks and a steal to his stat line.

Fellow senior Alex Hicks added 16 points, eight rebounds and a pair of blocks while sophomore Darian Adams scored 13 points with a career-high eight assists, four rebounds, a career-high two blocks and a steal.

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On the season, Varnado leads the Trojans averaging 18.0 points per game, ninth in the Sun Belt Conference while senior Alex Hicks paces the team in rebounds per game (8.0) which is the fourth-most in conference while pouring in 12.4 points per contest.

Hicks also leads Troy and the Sun Belt Conference shooting 53.3 percent (73-137). Senior BJ Miller paces Troy dishing 2.9 assists per game with averaging 10.6 points per game.

Little Rock (5-10, 0-2 SBC) dropped a 75-61 decision to Louisiana on the road on Saturday. In the game, junior Rayjon Tucker scored a career-high 36 points on 11-of-15 from the field with five made threes to go along with nine boards and a steal while freshman Markquis Nowell poured in 14 points with six rebounds and three assists.

Tucker leads the team in points per game (21.6, highest in Sun Belt) and rebounds per game (7.2, eighth in Sun Belt) while Nowell averages 4.3 assists per game, fourth in conference.

Thursday’s contest marks the 22nd meeting between the teams. Little Rock holds the series lead with a 12-9 record against Troy. Troy won the last meeting between the teams in Little Rock, Ark., 78-69 (1/23/17).

In the last meeting, the Trojans posted four double-figure scorers and shot 51.6 percent (33-of-64) to cruise to an 82-64 win on Feb. 10, 2018 inside of Trojan Arena. Then-junior Jordon Varnado posted his second consecutive double double in a game-high 23 points and 13 rebounds with three assists, two blocks and a pair of steals.