Nelson Phillips & Zay Williams Lead Troy to 80-65 Win Over Louisiana
Published 9:50 am Monday, February 13, 2023
The Troy Trojans (16-11, 8-6) upset the Sun Belt Conference’s second place Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (20-6, 10-4) at home on Saturday night by a score of 80-65.
The win was Troy’s third straight and it avenged a 72-57 loss to Louisiana in January. It also guaranteed Troy a second straight winning season under head coach Scott Cross. It’s the first time the Trojans will have back-to-back winning seasons since 2010.
Troy’s Nelson Phillips and Zay Williams combined for huge nights as Troy dominated Louisiana in the second half. Though Louisiana led 35-30 at halftime, Troy outscored the Cajuns 50-30 in the second half, leaving no doubts. The Trojans won the rebound battle 39-34, outscored Louisiana 38-30 in the paint, forced 12 turnovers and shot 54.7 percent from the field in the win.
“Against South Alabama in the second half, we were really heating up the ball; it changed the game,” Cross recalled. “Finally, in the second half (against Louisiana), the first possession or two, we started heating up the ball, we turn them over, boom, we’re right back in the game, and then it snowballed from there.
“The defense was phenomenal, and our 2-2-1 back to our matchup zone was really good. You know, I thought Darius McNeill just gave us a huge lift with his ball pressure. I think he may have been, you know, his stat sheet may not look like it, but the way he affected the game and the way he changed the game, he may have been my player of the game. I mean, it’s hard to pass up Williams and Phillips with the games they just had with the stat sheet, but Darius was probably just as valuable with the way that he heated up the ball tonight.”
In his 131st career game – a Troy record – Williams earned his first double-double of the season with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Phillips scored 23 points, seven rebounds, four assists, six steals and a blocked shot. Christian Turner also grabbed eight rebounds in the win.
The Trojans are back on the road this Thursday against Arkansas State at 7:30 p.m.