Trojans outshot by Little Rock in 84-70 loss

Published 9:13 pm Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Troy Trojans saw their losing streak stretch to four games with an 84-70 loss to Little Rock on Thursday evening inside Trojan Arena.

The loss for the Trojans drops them to 10-12 overall and 3-7 in Sun Belt Conference play.

“It was a disappointing second half,” said Troy head coach Phil Cunningham. “To play so well in the first half, I was real pleased at halftime. I thought we had great energy. Offensively, we were good. We went small and we were able to score on them. The second half was a completely different story.”

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Little Rock shot 78 percent in the second half, bringing their game total to 63.5 percent. Little Rock made 11 of their 22 3-pointers including 7-9 in the second half.

“They made some adjustments in their zone offense,” Cunningham said. “They cut up our zone early and made a couple of threes. We went man-to-man, that didn’t slow them down. Nothing could slow them down in the second half.”

The Trojans were without senior and leading scorer Jordon Varnado due to concussion-like symptoms.

“It happened Tuesday in practice,” Cunningham said. “The odd thing was, our trainer checked him out and cleared him and he went back in and practiced. I saw him drifting back to the trainers and I said that is trouble right there. Out indefinitely.”

The Trojans trailed by as many as eight points in the first half. Trailing 20-12, Javon Johnson knocked down two straight three-pointers to give Troy their first lead of the game with 7:40 remaining. It was the start of a 15-2 run by the Trojans, giving them a 30-22 lead after Little Rock went 6:00 without scoring.

Little Rock went on a 6-0 run to get back to within three at 33-30 before Javon Johnson scored on one of his three first half three-pointers to give Troy a 36-30 lead heading into halftime.

After shooting 31 percent early in the first half, the Trojans ended half number one shooting 47 percent. They converted on 8 of their 14 3-pointers.

Little Rock opened the second half on a 15-2 run to take a 45-40 lead. The lead for Little Rock grew to as many as 25 points.

Johnson led the Trojans with 16 points, while Darian Adams finished with 15 and Malik Burnett had 10. After scoring Troy’s first nine points, Hicks was held scoreless the rest of the way.

The Trojans will be back in action on Saturday when they host Arkansas State beginning at 2 p.m.

“We have to try and replicate what we did in the first half,” Cunningham said. “We can’t hang our heads. We can’t turn the second half into two losses. That is a dangerous element in a game like this. We have to be resilient and find away to replicate what we did in the first half.”